Mariga & Inter on brink of treble

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ROME, May 16- Harambee Stars midfielder Macdonald Mariga continues to enjoy a dream season at Inter Milan after the Nerazzurri secured a fifth straight Serie A title on Sunday.

Diego Milito scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Siena as AS Roma finished second, two points behind, despite their 2-0 win at Chievo.

It was Inter’s 18th scudetto crown and keeps Jose Mourinho’s team on course for a historic treble, having already won the Italian Cup and with the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to come in Madrid on May 22.

Roma had the chance to be champions but they had to win and hope Inter didn’t.

They briefly dreamed of lifting the title when they opened a 2-0 lead by half-time at Chievo, but Milito’s 57th-minute strike in Siena settled Inter’s nerves.

"This is an incredible joy, a repayment of all the hard work over the year," said match-winner Milito.

"From tomorrow we will think about that great Champions Lague final."

Inter captain Javier Zanetti insisted his team were worthy winners.

"At the end the strongest team won but congratulations to Roma for a fine season," he said.

"Now we need to think about another final but for the moment we’ll celebrate this fifth (straight) title which we deserve."

Siena gave sign from the off that they weren’t going to lie down as Albin Ekdal profitted from space in the Inter defence left by the prone Marco Materazzi but under pressure from Maicon he slipped his shot wide with the outside of his right foot.

Inter were soon in the ascendancy and first Mario Balotelli and then Milito shot just wide of the far post from the left.

Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Curci then made a miraculous save from Milito’s header from four yards out.

Meanwhile in Verona, Roma captain Francesco Totti was wasting a glut of chances.

He hit the outside of the post with a fierce right foot shot and then had a double opportunity, but goalkeeper Lorenzo Squizzi kicked away his left foot shot while his effort with the right from the follow-up was cleared off the line.

An inviting cross from Rodrigo Taddei then flashed across the six-yard box but neither Mirko Vucinic nor Totti could get a touch, the ball even passing between Totti’s legs.

Back in Siena centre-back Walter Samuel’s firm header was punched clear by Curci with Milito loitering.

And after Inter keeper Julio Cesar saved a rasping Massimo Maccarone effort, Balotelli hit the bar with an acrobatic volley from Maicon’s cross.

But as the half wore to a close, Roma took a decisive advantage as Vucinic volleyed home Daniele De Rossi’s lofted through ball on 39 minutes with Chievo’s defence going walkabout.

And on the stroke of half-time, De Rossi blasted home a rocket from 25 yards to make Roma virtual champions at the break.

Inter’s determination after the restart was obvious as Curci tipped over a drive from Milito while Esteban Cambiasso fired just wide when well placed.

Mourinho went for broke by throwing on a fourth striker in Goran Pandev for midfielder Thiago Motta.

And the pressure told on 57 minutes as captain Javier Zanetti burst forward from left back and slipped in Milito to finish with the outside of his right foot.

Inter had a chance to settle their nerves 14 minutes from time on the counter attack but after Curci saved from Milito, Pandev’s follow-up was ruled out for offside.

The champions suffered a scare five minutes from time when on-loan Roma midfielder Aleandro Rosi almost caught out Julio Cesar with a cross that flew inches past the far post with the Brazilian stopper in no-man’s land.

In other games Sampdoria secured fourth place and Champions League football next season as Giampaolo Pazzini scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 home in over Napoli.

Palermo had to settle for fifth placed and the Europa League despite their last gasp 2-1 win at Atalanta.

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