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Monday, May 9, 2011

AC Milan earns title, ends Inter's long reign


ROME — AC Milan ended five years of dominance by city rival Inter Milan after clinching the Serie A title on Saturday with a heated 0-0 draw at Roma.

News photo
Back on top: Robinho, left, celebrates Milan's 18th league title with coach Massimiliano Allegri on Saturday in Rome. AP

Milan leads Inter by nine points and is 10 in front of Napoli. While Inter could still mathematically finish even on points, Milan holds the tiebreaker courtesy of its two derby wins.

The closest either side came to scoring was a shot by Milan striker Robinho that bounced off the post one minute into the second half.

Inter won the last five Italian league titles, while Milan's last championship came in 2004.

Milan and Inter are tied with 18 titles each, while Juventus leads the all-time list with 27 championships.

After the final whistle, Milan began a champagne celebration on the pitch and threw first-year manager Massimiliano Allegri up into the air.

"They said we were dead, they said I was finished. Winning after seven years is a huge emotion," said veteran midfielder Gennaro Gattuso. "Allegri deserves a 10 — he was the artifice behind this success, he was able to keep the group together."

The 80,000-seat Stadio Olimpico was full and contained 10,000 Milan fans. Milan fans celebrated by lighting smoke in the colors of Italy's flag.

Milan president and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi wasn't in attendance, but his daughter Barbara, who was recently added to the club's board of directors and is in a relationship with striker Alexandre Pato, was there.

"I want to thank the players first, then (Berlusconi) for giving me such a great squad," Allegri said. "Winning in my first season is very satisfying. For the future, we've got to improve a team that is already strong. (Berlusconi) said he will provide us with a gift, so we're happy.

City closes in on CL place


LONDON — Manchester City remains on course to qualify for the Champions League for the first time despite losing 2-1 at Everton after Tottenham was held to a 1-1 draw by Blackpool.

Yaya Toure put Man City in position to strengthen its grip on fourth place in the Premier League, but Sylvain Distin and Leon Osman scored in the second half for Everton.

Softening the impact of that loss was Tottenham's draw with Blackpool, leaving fifth-place Spurs six points behind City. Tottenham and City meet Tuesday in one of three remaining matches, and a victory for City would ensure the team qualifies for Europe's top competition.

"The team Man City had could probably play in the NBA," Everton manager David Moyes said. "It was like the New York Knicks, with the size of them. It was really difficult to match them. It was a case of everybody manning the pumps to get us through the last five or six minutes."

At Upton Park, Thomas Hitzlsperger salvaged a 1-1 draw for West Ham against Blackburn in their battle to avoid relegation, but the London club remains at the bottom of the standings a point behind Wolverhampton and three below Wigan.

Wigan was held to a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, while Birmingham lost 2-1 at Newcastle.

Sunderland's safety has already been assured and the team came from behind to win 2-1 at Bolton.

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