Milan clinch Serie A with goalless draw at Roma
Rome: AC Milan claimed an 18th Serie A title following a 0-0 draw at Roma on Saturday that gave them an unassailable lead at the top of the table with two games to go.
Milan came into the game knowing they needed only a draw to be sure of winning the scudetto crown and they never looked in danger of failing to do so.
The draw pushed their lead over second-placed Inter Milan, who still have three to play, to nine points but with a better head-to-head record, the rosssoneri cannot now be overtaken.
And the title is all the sweeter for Milan who have put an end to their arch rivals Inter`s run of five straight league crowns.
Coach Massmiliano Allegri was understandably delighted at having landed the title in his first season at the club and even claimed that club president and Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had promised him new signings in the summer.
"I want to thank the players first of all and then the president who gave me such a great squad," said Allegri.
"It`s very satisfying to win in my first year. In the future we need to improve a team that is already strong. But the president has said that he will give us a present and we`re all happy."
This was far from a vintage performance but Milan produced the kind of calm and controlled display necessary to get just what they needed.
They created little themselves but they did come the closest to scoring and gave Roma very little to work with.
The true damage had already been done in the last two months when 3-0 victories at home to their nearest two rivals -- Inter and Napoli -- consistently kept the competition at bay.
For Roma the point did little to help their chances of securing a top four finish and Champions League football next season.
They are level with Lazio and a point ahead of Udinese -- with those two due to play eachother in Udine on Sunday.
"I hope they both lose," joked Roma coach Vincenzo Montella. "In this league every game is decided on the pitch, you don`t win beforehand.
"If we get one point and another team gets three, then we could have done better, but there`s not guarantee anyone else will win."
Milan produced a neat passing move on 10 minutes with Clarence Seedorf setting up Kevin-Prince Boateng, who fired high and wide.
Up the other end Rodrigo Taddei flashed a speculative effort wide of the far post.
The chance of the half came on 14 minutes.
Marco Cassetti skipped past Gianluca Zambrotta, dinked the ball to the back post where Ignazio Abate mis-timed his jump and Mirko Vucinic opted to take it down on his chest only for Christian Abbiati to spread himself well to smother his volley.
Roma had possibly the better of the chances as early substitute Aleandro Rosi crossed for Vucinic who hadn`t committed himself, allowing Alessandro Nesta to whisk the ball clear.
Rosi then hit a low shot that Abbiati got down to at his near post.
Robinho was quick to wake everyone from their slumber in the first minute of the second half as he curled a shot against the post after Abate had driven at a hesitant Roma defence.
Up the other end Simplicio dragged wide a shot from 20 yards.
On the hour Milan carved Roma open with Massimo Ambrosini chipping the ball over the backline but Boateng`s shot drifted agonisingly just past the far post.
Moments later goalkeeper Doni parried Zlatan Ibrahimovic`s fierce free-kick with a Juan flailing himself in front of Seedorf to block the follow-up.
Roma finally started to show some signs of urgency as the game wound down but it was too little too late and Milan held on comfortably.