Serie A: Inter 4-3 Atalanta


Champions lift league trophy after seven-goal thriller. Ibra top scorer. Emotional farewell to Figo

MILAN - Italian champions Inter ended the 2008/09 Serie A season with an enthralling 4-3 victory over local rivals Atalanta at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

The Bergamo outfit matched Inter blow for blow in the first half, with Cristiano Doni and Luca Cigarini replying to goals from Sulley Muntari and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Doni gave the visitors a 3-2 lead early in the second half but Inter fought back strong and scored twice in two minutes, with Cambiasso grabbing an equaliser before Ibrahimovic sealed the top scorers' title in style with a magnificent effort.

José Mourinho's players were presented with their gold medals and the Scudetto trophy by Lega Calcio officials in a ceremony after the final whistle.

The Nerazzurri came out for the pre-match warm-up wearing number seven shirts in honour of Luis Figo, who captained the team in his last competitive match as a professional.

And before the match, which kicked off after a minute's silence to remember the Saras employees who lost their lives in the week, Figo was presented with a commemorative plate to mark his career at Inter.

The Portuguese midfielder's last appearance in black and blue lasted 44 minutes. In an emotional farewell he embraced his team-mates and the Atalanta players in the centre circle before coming off to a thunderous applause from the 69,000-strong crowd. 

Figo contributed to Inter's opening goal in the sixth minute. Receiving from Zanetti on the right, he held off challenges from two players before delivering a low cross that Consigli cleared somewhat clumsily, allowing Muntari to slot home from ten yards.

The Bergamo Nerazzurri struck a quick equaliser when their captain Doni rose on the edge of the six-yard box to head home a left-wing corner.

Inter were back in front within a matter of minutes, Ibrahimovic collecting Cambiasso's ball over the Atalanta defence and racing unchallenged on goal before firing past Consigli.

In a free-scoring first half Cigarini half-volleyed home from 25 yards to bring the teams on level terms again after Zanetti's headed clearance from a Defendi cross.

After twice coming from behind Atalanta had Inter on the back foot when free kick specialist Doni found the top left corner eight minutes after the restart.

What followed was the best possible reply to critics of Italian football.

Muntari had a brilliant overhead from Balotelli's left-wing cross ruled out for offside, Padoin going close at the other end minutes later with a close-range shot that finished inches wide, and a long-range effort that bounced off the top of the bar.

The woodwork saw more action when Maicon, back in action for the first time since his injury on international duty at the end of March, muscled past his marker before crossing to Crespo whose header came back off the bar.

Balotelli tested Coppola with a fierce long-range right-footer and Inter had a second goal ruled out for offside when Crespo nodded home Ibrahimovic's headed pass from Balotelli's right-wing free kick. 

Goals were imminent and they came within 180 seconds. Cambiasso produced the equalising goal when he stabbed home a loose ball after Coppola failed to hold Muntari's shot.

And Ibrahimovic saved the best until last, shrugging off two challenges in the box before fooling Coppola with an exquisite backheeled shot that found the bottom corner.

Inter 4-3 Atalanta (HT: 2-2)

Scorers: Muntari 6, Doni 10, 53, Ibrahimovic 12, 81, Cigarini 25, Cambiasso 80.

Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 4 Zanetti, 2 Cordoba, 25 Samuel, 26 Chivu (13 Maicon 64); 5 Stankovic (18 Crespo 64), 19 Cambiasso, 20 Muntari; 7 Figo (39 Santon 44), 8 Ibrahimovic, 45 Balotelli.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 9 Cruz, 14 Vieira, 16 Burdisso.
Coach: José Mourinho.

Atalanta: 1 Consigli (31 Coppola 46); 8 Garics, 2 Talamonti, 5 Manfredini, 6 Bellini; 34 Defendi (11 Cerci 70), 21 Cigarini, 17 Guarente, 22 Padoin; 72 Doni; 9 Plasmati (55 Parravicini 85).
Subs not used: 13 Peluso, 26 Pellegrino, 27 Capelli, 99 Zaza.
Coach: Luigi Del Neri.

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Florence).

Booked: Stankovic 57, Ibrahimovic 81.

Att.: 69,405.

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