Milito fires Inter to European glory

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Milito fires Inter to European glory

MADRID - Inter Milan reached the summit of European soccer for the first time in 45 years when Diego Milito scored two superb goals to gain a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Argentine struck after 35 and 70 minutes to seal a deserved victory for Inter at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and complete an unprecedented treble for a Serie A club following their Italian league and Cup double. It was also a personal triumph for Inter’s Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho who became only the third man to win the European Cup with two clubs.

Milito, who had spent much of his career as a journeyman striker, has reached the heights this season with 22 goals in his first Serie A campaign for Inter. He scored the goal that clinched the Italian title last weekend, got the winner in the Italian Cup final and sent the Inter fans wild in Madrid with an opening goal that set them on their way to their latest triumph.

He nodded goalkeeper Julio Cesar’s long punt down to Wesley Sneijder, ran on to the Dutchman’s pinpoint through ball and then shimmied to make space for himself before lifting a shot high into the net over goalkeeper Hans Joerg-Butt. His second goal was also superbly taken, leaving Bayern defender Daniel Van Buyten bamboozled and beaten before Milito fired past Butt into the far corner of the net.

Before the decisive second goal, Bayern twice came close to an equalizer through striker Thomas Mueller and pacy Dutch winger Arjen Robben. Inter also went close to more goals, especially from Sneijder just before halftime, but they were denied by some excellent goalkeeping from Butt.

With one end of the stadium decked out in the red of Bayern and the other filled with blue-and-black clad Inter fans, both teams made a cautious start on a balmy Madrid evening.

The buildup was dominated by the coaching duel between Bayern’s Louis Van Gaal and his one time Barcelona assistant Mourinho but almost from the kick-off it was clear both coaches had given the same instructions to their teams - go for goals.

Inter’s attempts obviously proved more fruitful but even before Milito put them ahead, their attack looked sharper and they always looked the more likely to gain the early advantage. Samuel Eto’o and Milito were a constant threat to the Bayern defense, while Bayern’s front men Ivica Olic and Thomas Mueller ultimately made little impression. Inter, who won the European Cup in 1964 and 1965, claimed a third crown with passion, skill and rugged flair.

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