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Tuesday, April 14, 1998 Published at 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK



Sport: Football

Ronaldo rules as Italians celebrate
image: [ Inter's Diego Simeone, centre, goes on the attack against Spartak ]
Inter's Diego Simeone, centre, goes on the attack against Spartak

World player of the year Ronaldo scored twice as Inter Milan came from behind against Spartak Moscow to set up a UEFA Cup final against Italian rivals Lazio.


The BBC's Jon Champion reports
The Brazilian forward gave his side a 2-1 away win in the semi-final second leg after Milan had won the home leg 2-1 two weeks ago.

In the other semi-final on Tuesday night, Lazio were held 0-0 by Atletico Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Rome but went through 1-0 on aggregate after winning away in the first leg.

It will be the fourth all-Italian UEFA Cup final in the last nine years.


[ image: Stadium workers clear snow from the pitch before the game]
Stadium workers clear snow from the pitch before the game
Ronaldo had not looked at home on a saturated Moscow pitch which had been cleared of about 30cm of snow during the week until he struck on the stroke of half-time.

Spartak centre-back Miroslav Romaschenko failed to deal with a cross and the Brazilian stroked the ball home.

The Russians had gone ahead in the 12th minute when winger Andrei Tikhinov took on the Inter defence and scored spectacularly to level the aggregate scores at 2-2.


[ image: Ronaldo, right, and Spartak's Dmitry Khlestov fight for possession]
Ronaldo, right, and Spartak's Dmitry Khlestov fight for possession
But after Ronaldo's first Spartak had to go all out in attack and were caught cold on the break in the 76th minute. Ronaldo beat three players before slotting the ball past keeper Alexander Filimonov.

It was an impressive rearguard performance by Inter in unfamiliar conditions. The game had been given the go-ahead despite two days of heavy snow.


[ image: Lazio's Alan Boksic (right) holds off an Atletico defender]
Lazio's Alan Boksic (right) holds off an Atletico defender
Lazio held their nerve with a solid defensive display to reach their first European final.

Atletico, who knocked out Leicester City and Aston Villa on their way to the last four, pressed strongly but could not break down the home defence.

The visitors' dangerman, Italian international striker Christian Vieri, put through Jose Mari for Atletico's best chance, but the substitute fired into the side-netting.






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