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Inter Milan Overwhelms AS Roma 3-1

May 12, 2006

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Inter Milan overwhelmed a depleted AS Roma 3-1 in the second leg of the Italian Cup final Thursday, claiming a second straight title and fifth overall.

Argentine teammates Esteban Cambiasso and Julio Ricardo Cruz scored first-half goals and substitute Obafemi Martins added another in the 77th against a Roma team missing three regulars due to suspension. Roma also lost defender Cristian Chivu to injury after 12 minutes and could not start midfielder Daniele De Rossi because of a fever.

It was the second year Inter beat Roma for the crown, prevailing 3-0 on aggregate last season. This year, the aggregate was 4-2 after a 1-1 tie in Rome.

Roma did welcome the return of Italian national team midfielder Francesco Totti, who played his first game since breaking his left leg Feb. 19 in a Serie A match against Empoli.

Totti was cheered by thousands when he entered as a substitute for Stefano Okaka in the 55th minute. He nearly scored with a drive in the 68th and curled a free kick to set up Roma’s only goal, an 80th-minute header by Shabani Nonda.

``Francesco looked in form, but he’s not yet ready to play the entire 90 minutes,″ said AS Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.

Spalletti said Cruz’s second goal disheartened his team as it was pressing for the equalizer.

The title was some consolation for Inter Milan, which is destined for a third-place finish in the Serie A and was eliminated by Villarreal in the European Champions League quarterfinals.

Roberto Mancini, who has won 10 Italian Cup titles as a player and coach, said ``it’s always satisfactory to win something, although this was our third target (in order of importance) this season.″

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