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Serie A - Inter win Serie A after Milan loss

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Denny crane

Denny crane
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Udinese beat AC Milan 2-1 at the Stadio Friuli to maintain their push for a Europa League place and, in doing so, confirmed Internazionale as Serie A champions.

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Lying seven points behind their city rivals Inter with three games remaining, Carlo Aneclotti's men knew anything less than victory at Udinese would all but hand the Nerazzurri a fourth successive Scudetto.

But Udinese had their own ambitions to fulfil - victory would maintain their hopes of a Europa League place next season - and started the more inventive of the two sides.

The pressure of the title chase appeared to get to Milan's array of stars and a poor start was compounded when 40 year-old Paolo Maldini was harshly adjudged to have hauled down Antonio Floro Flores in the area.

Gaetano D'Agostino remained composed and, although Dida guessed the right way, his firmly struck spot-kick was always destined for the top corner.

Milan threatened intermittently but Udinese clinically punished some sloppy defending to double their lead after the interval. Felipe inadvertently diverted a poorly defended corner into the path of Cristian Zapata, who fired home from a couple of yards out.

Massimo Ambrosini's late consolation header meant little, especially if Juventus beat Atalanta tomorrow to move to within a point of second place.

Milan managed to weather an early storm that included a wild long range effort from Kwadwo Asamoah, a Simone Pepe free-kick and a stinging D'Agostino drive.

Soon the Milanese side were the dominant force in the game and their patient passing bore fruits of sort with a first shot after 15 minutes.

But, under pressure, Ambrosini snatched at Alexandre Pato's cushioned header and volleyed wide.

Firmly in the ascendancy, the Rossoneri thought they had won a penalty when Clarence Seedorf went down under Giovanni Pasquale's clumsy challenge but referee Nicola Rizzoli thought otherwise and Udinese broke at pace.

Having beaten the offside trap, Fabio Quagliarella headed Pepe's measured cross straight at Dida from point blank range.

Before Milan could regroup, Udinese broke again and were this time rewarded with a penalty that D'Agostino expertly dispatched.

Milan almost conjured an immediate riposte but first Andrea Pirlo's free-kick just arched the wrong side of the up-right, before Kaka fired at the legs of Samir Handanovic from a tight angle.

Milan's designs on a second half comeback were dealt a fatal blow when sloppy defending afforded Zapata time and space to thrash home from close-range.

The half-time introduction of Filippo Inzaghi gave the Rossoneri a focal point of attack they had lacked in the first half but, aside from a disallowed goal for offside and a couple of smart stops from Handamonic, Milan rarely threatened.

If anything, the impressive Udinese could have increased their advantage had it not been for the form of Milan goalkeeper Dida.

And even when Milan got a consolation, Quagliarella almost restored Udinese's two goal advantage only to fire against the post.
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