Dramatic finish to the Coppa Italia final as Palermo attempts a momentary comeback before being reduced to ten men, but Eto'o and Milito secured the trophy for Leonardo.
Inter retained the Coppa Italia after a 3-1 victory over luckless Palermo, crowning Leonardo's men cup champions for the seventh time.
Inter took the lead midway through the first half thanks to Eto’o precise finish with Fabrizio Miccoli and Abel Hernandez both coming close for Palermo before halftime.
Sneijder and Eto’o combined ruthlessly in the second half to dampen Palermo’s hopes before a late Ezequiel Munoz header ensured it would be a dramatic conclusion.
However, he went from hero to villain within seconds as he was given his marching orders before Diego Milito scored in the dying embers of the game as Inter secured silverware for the sixth consecutive season.
Palermo’s Hernandez came close in the opening minute after Lucio failed to clear the ball but the striker could only put his shot into the side netting.
The three-time finalists continued their positive start after a smart exchange on the edge of the Inter area giving Javier Pastore a chance to slide the ball beyond Julio Cesar but a poor first touch gifted the ball to the onrushing Brazilian.
Inter took the lead against the run of play in breathtaking fashion after Wesley Sneijder sliced the Palermo defense open with a pass into the path of Samuel Eto’o, who provided the clinical finish.
Inter was forced to scramble inside its area as Palermo saw three strikes at goal blocked before Julio Cesar was made to make a world class reactionary save to prevent the Rosanero from leveling.
With halftime beckoning Ilicic thought he had been felled in the area after contact with Andrea Ranocchia, but it was deemed minimal as the referee motioned play on.
Palermo began the second half encouragingly as Balzaretti stung the palms of Julio Cesar, signalling its intent in pursuit of the much needed goal.
Delio Rossi brought on Fabrizio Miccoli, playing in his last game for the club, as Palermo continued to push for the equalizing goal.
And it nearly came after Pastore’s perfectly weighted cross was powered toward goal by the substitute, only for Julio Cesar to fling himself low to his right and turn the ball around the post.
Inter’s goal was continuously threatened as Palermo pressured the Nerazzurri defense, but Leonardo's men stood firm with Christian Chivu making an exemplary tackle with Hernandez bearing down on goal.
The defending cup champions finally got their buffer when Samuel Eto’o provided the telling touch after Sneijder had sent the striker clear as Palermo desperately went in pursuit of an equalizer in the 10 minutes remaining.
Late drama ensued as Palermo halved the deficit through Munoz with a well directed header from a debatable corner as the Rosanero attempted to claw their way back into match.
With Inter reeling, Palermo launched a counterattack which was halted by Munoz, who was sent off in ludicrous circumstances after winning the ball cleanly. Eto’o, however, could only hammer the resulting free kick into the upright.
But it didn't matter as Diego Milito managed to provide the killer strike as he restored Inter’s two-goal advantage in injury time to help his side retain the Coppa Italia.Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!