Inter Milan secured the first trophy in their historic treble quest as they beat AS Roma 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Wednesday.
Diego Milito scored the only goal while Roma substitute Francesco Totti was dismissed late on in an often bad-tempered and fractious affair.
It was Inter's third cup triumph in the last six seasons — in the fifth final between the two teams in that same period — and their sixth in all.
Now Jose Mourinho’s men have two more league games to hold onto their Serie A lead — they head Roma by two points — and a Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Madrid on May 22 as they aim to become the first ever Italian team to win the treble.
“We’ve won the first of three trophies, now we expect to win the other two,” enthused Milito. “This victory will give us even more spirit for our next league game against Chievo.”
The game got off to a dreadful start for the nerazzurri as Wesley Sniejder went down under a heavy challenge by on -loan Inter defender Nicolas Burdisso and after hobbling around for a minute he had to be replaced.
“It was a really tough game right from the first minute given we lost Sneijder straight away,” said Mourinho.
“We played with aggression and intensity for 90 minutes. We scored and then we controlled the game. We didn’t get the second on the counter but then Roma lost their heads a little.”
Mourinho decided to throw on forward Mario Balotelli, changing his formation to a 4-3-3 from a 4-3-1-2.
Roma coach Claudio Ranieri paid tribute to the victors.
“We didn’t manage to play the way we know how and the way we played in our league meetings with them,” he said.
“They punished us for a moment of carelessness. The honour goes to the victors. As for the league, we won't give up.”
Despite the change Inter were very much in the ascendancy in the first half as Esteban Cambiasso dispossessed Mirko Vucinic in midfield and spread the ball wide to Samuel Eto’o, who slipped it inside for the charging Maicon but Julio Sergio blocked his near post shot. On 16 minutes Eto’o played in Milito but his clinical finish was disallowed for a marginal offside.