Inter clinch Champions League place
Inter Milan clinched their place in the UEFA Champions League next season with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina at the San Siro today.
Giampaolo Pazzini put the Nerazzurri ahead in the 25th minute with Esteban Cambiasso making it 2-0 three minutes later. Alberto Gilardino gave the visitors hope in the 74th minute, but Coutinho restored Inter's two-goal advantage just two minutes later to seal the win.
Both sides hit the woodwork in an entertaining encounter played in the city which has been celebrating the Scudetto all night, or rather the Rossoneri half of the city has been celebrating.
Inter lost their title last night with AC Milan's draw at Roma that was enough to give them an insurmountable lead at the top, despite Inter's win today. Inter coach Leonardo sprang a couple of surprises in his starting XI, leaving Lucio out with Marco Materazzi starting and fielding Coutinho as the support man instead of the injured Wesley Sneijder.
Both moves clearly showed his attention has already turned to Wednesday night's Italian Cup semi-final second leg against Roma, although his team maintained its competitiveness against a lively Viola side.
Gilardino almost put the visitors in front in the tenth minute when he met Alessio Cerci's cross, but he struck the bar from close range. Pazzini hit the woodwork at the other end with a shot on the turn which Artur Boruc turned onto the bar. The Fiorentina striker did not waste a similar chance in the 24th minute, though, as he put the home side in front, holding the ball with his back to the goal and then turning and shooting low past Boruc.
Cambiasso swiftly added the second, heading Samuel Eto'o's free-kick in off the underside of the bar from ten yards out. Juan Vargas almost gave the visitors hope before the interval, but they had to wait until the 74th minute before getting a goal through Gilardino. He beat Julio Cesar with a volley from Santana's pass to open up the game.
However, Coutinho closed it again shortly afterwards with a direct free-kick the man he replaced, Sneijder, would have been proud of.