Inter defender Marco Materazzi has apologised to team-mate Julio Cruz for deciding to take the penalty against Siena that he failed to convert and which prevented the club from clinching a third straight Scudetto.
The Nerazzurri went into the penultimate round of fixtures knowing victory at the San Siro would secure the title and they were gifted a golden chance when Materazzi won a penalty 10 minutes from time.
Cruz was the preferred choice of coach Roberto Mancini and the Argentinian had to be restrained by his team-mates as he attempted to take the ball away from Materazzi.
The Italy defender's effort was on target but it was saved by Siena goalkeeper Alex Manninger as the match finished 2-2, allowing Roma to cut Inter's lead to just one point with a game to play.
"I am saddened because we could have won," admitted Materazzi. "We know how it went, my penalty was saved and unfortunately it went badly for us.
"Last year the order of penalty takers was the same and I didn't make a mistake by taking it. I felt that I should take it. Of course, in hidsight, I should have let Julio (Cruz) take it and I apologised to him.
"Many times I have taken penalties and I have scored but this is football."
Inter fans that had packed the San Siro hoping for their team to claim their third successive title were fuming after the game as was coach Mancini and club President Massimo Moratti.
"I want to clarify that there were no harsh words exchanged in the dressing room with Mancini," said Materazzi. "I understand that when you miss a penalty you become a target.
"The Inter fans will be against me but this is part of football, of the disappointment and I can't say anything."
Inter travel to Parma on Sunday while Roma end the campaign at Catania and Materazzi will be desperate to make amends.
"We need to bounce back and think about the next game which will be a final," he said. "I will try to make the difference."
Sunday's game will be Materazzi's last game for the Nerazzurri this season as the defender is suspended for the Coppa Italia final against Roma on May 24 having been shown a straight red in the semi-final against Lazio.
Source: Sporting Life