BEIJING - Italian Cup winners Lazio stunned Serie A champions Inter Milan with two goals in two minutes early in the second half to win the Super Cup 2-1 in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium on Saturday. Brazilian midfielder Matuzalem opened the scoring against the run of play in the 61st minute and Inter had barely recovered from the shock before Lazio skipper Tommaso Rocchi chipped keeper Julio Cesar to double the lead. Inter piled on the pressure and new signing Samuel Eto'o cut the deficit with 15 minutes to go but Lazio held on to win the traditional pre-season contest for the third time. "Getting such an important result against an important team like Inter of course makes me very happy," said new Lazio manager Davide Ballardini. "Inter are probably better than us but we won the match and we deserved it. To beat Inter you have to be good and a bit lucky ... I think we deserved it because we really wanted to win." Inter manager Jose Mourinho disagreed. "I am completely satisfied with the way my team played even though I'm disappointed with the result," said Mourinho. "I don't remember Inter playing such good football ... Even after we went 2-0 down, we were still fantastic. "Only a hypocrite would say Lazio deserved the result," he added. FOUR SIGNINGS Mourinho started all four of his new signings, pairing Eto'o and Diego Milito up front with Thiago Motta anchoring midfield and Lucio in central defence. Eto'o and Milito looked lively in attack but it was Brazilian Lucio who came closest to scoring for Inter in the first half with a low close-range header from Esteban Cambiasso's corner palmed away by Fernando Muslera 10 minutes before halftime. Dejan Stankovic, Muntari, Eto'o and Milito all had early chances as Inter looked to take control after the break but it was Lazio who made the breakthrough. Matuzalem found himself free in the area after a 61st-minute Rocchi free kick spun off the wall and he forced the ball into the net with his chin when his first attempt was blocked by Cesar. The celebrations had barely ended when skipper Rocchi doubled the lead with a sublime chip that left Cesar with no chance two minutes later. Inter rallied and camped inside the Lazio half, finally allowing Eto'o space to score his first goal for his new club, the Cameroon international lashing the ball into the roof of the net in the 75th minute after a defensive error. Argentine Milito thought he had equalised 10 minutes later but the referee called him back for offside and, with Muslera outstanding in the Lazio goal, the Cup winners held out for a morale-boosting victory. A crowd organisers put at 70,000 made plenty of noise at the Bird's Nest for the first sporting event at the stadium since last September on the first anniversary of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
8 August 2009
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