Serie A title, second star and derby: Inter Milan crowned Champions

AP , Monday 22 Apr 2024

A 2-1 victory over AC Milan in the derby on Monday gave Inter Milan a 20th league title — breaking a tie with its fierce city rival — and a coveted second star on the team shirts on Monday.

Inter Milan
Inter Milan s French defender #28 Benjamin Pavard (C) celebrates with his teammates after Inter Milan s French forward #09 Marcus Thuram scored his team s second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro Stadium in Milan on April 22, 2024. AFP


Not even the pouring rain dampened the Nerazzurri fans’ spirits at San Siro as they joyously reclaimed city bragging rights.

Francesco Acerbi and Marcus Thuram scored and, although Fikayo Tomori's late goal for AC Milan threatened to delay the celebrations, Inter held on for the win that stretched its lead to an insurmountable 17 points over second-placed Milan, with five rounds remaining.

Simone Inzaghi won his first league title as a coach.

A star is awarded for every 10 Serie A titles. Only Juventus has won more, with a record 36 and thus three stars.

It had long been a matter of when and not if Inter would win Serie A and it knew that doing so in the Derby della Madonnina at San Siro — the stadium it shares with Milan — would be extra special, even if it was technically the away team and only one end of the stadium was reserved for its black-and-blue-clad support.

Moreover, Inter had won the past five derby matches, including both legs of the Champions League semifinal last year and a 5-1 humiliation of Milan earlier this season in Serie A.

Inter took the lead in the 18th minute when Benjamin Pavard nodded on Federico Dimarco’s corner for an unmarked Acerbi to head in from close range.

Lautaro Martínez should have doubled Inter’s lead seven minutes later when he was also left woefully unmarked but the league’s top goal-scorer inexplicably fired over the bar from point-blank range.

Milan seemed to draw confidence from that miss and Rafael Leão had a great chance to level following a rapid run on the counterattack from Tomori, but he fired straight at Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Thuram came close to doubling Inter’s lead but his effort brushed the outside of the far post.

It was end-to-end action and Milan captain Davide Calabria also forced a great save from Sommer at the end of the first half.

But clinching the crown seemed inevitable less than four minutes after the restart when Thuram ran onto a long Alessandro Bastoni ball over the top and feinted around his marker to cut in from the left along the edge of the area and drill into the near bottom corner.

There was a tense finale after Milan pulled one back 10 minutes from time. Sommer did brilliantly to parry Mattia Gabbia's header onto his post but Tomori nodded in the rebound before grabbing the ball and gesturing frantically to his teammates as he raced back to the center circle, desperate to get the equaliser that would prevent Inter from securing the title.

As tempers flared, a scuffle broke out in stoppage time and Milan's Théo Hernandez and Inter defender Denzel Dumfries were sent off. Calabria was also shown a red card moments later following another scuffle.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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