MILAN, May 17 (Reuters) - AS Roma won the Italian Cup on Thursday after a 2-1 defeat at holders Inter Milan gave them a 7-4 aggregate victory.
Inter, who have missed out on a second successive league and
cup double, produced a spirited display but Roma's extraordinary
6-2 victory in last week's first leg proved too much.
Roberto Mancini's side had defeated Roma in the previous two
finals but will have to make do with the league championship
In-form Argentine striker Hernan Crespo arched his neck to
score with a delightful header from Maicon's cross early in the
second period to give the home side the lead.
Substitute Julio Cruz, who entered the fray in the first
half for the injured Patrick Vieira, then slid in Luis Figo's
pass on 56 minutes to spark hopes of an improbable comeback.
But it was never really on and the frustration boiled over
for Mancini, who was sent from the dugout for protesting midway
through the second half.
He tried to direct the team from the stands but any chance
of a sensational turnaround evaporated when Inter defender Ivan
Cordoba was sent off for a handball having received his first
booking after just two minutes of the San Siro clash.
Roma then twisted the knife when Simone Perrotta turned in
Francesco Totti's cross-shot seven minutes from time.
Right back Christian Panucci was dismissed for pulling back
Inter's Alvaro Recoba in injury time but nothing could take the
gloss off the win for Roma, who finished second to Inter in the
Roma captain Totti proudly held the cup aloft only four days
after the birth of his second child, Chanel.
'I dedicate this Italian Cup not only to my daughter Chanel
but to all my family who are always close to me,' he told
'We were used to seeing Inter always winning and it was
right that we also lifted an important trophy. We came here with
the knowledge that they could be beaten.'
A few hundred Roma supporters were packed into the away end
and were determined to make themselves heard as they celebrated
their first Cup triumph since 1991.
Only a sprinkling of Inter fans had bothered to attend given
the first leg score.
But the few that were in the stadium would have been
encouraged by Inter's show and they could have scored more than
two in the second period, with Recoba having the best chance
only to be forced too wide after goalkeeper Doni's slip.
'We lost the Cup in the match at the Olimpico, but we didn't
deserve to concede six goals,' said Inter assistant coach Sinisa
'We knew a comeback would not be easy. The boys gave their
all, they couldn't have done any more. The match would have been
different if we had scored in the first half.'