Monday, 4 May 2009

Prince lays claim to throne after derby treble

His nickname is 'El Principe' – The Prince – but after scoring a hat-trick in the 3-1 victory against Sampdoria on Sunday, Argentinean forward Diego Milito could soon be crowned king by the Genoa fans.

Diego Milito & Gian Piero GasperiniThe 29-year-old gave Genoa the lead twice, after 30 and 73 minutes, before adding another in stoppage time when the Grifoni were playing nine against ten with three players sent off in the last five minutes of a vibrant game.

The victory in the 100th Derby della Lanterna allowed Genoa to stay one point behind fourth-placed Fiorentina in the chase for a place in the next UEFA Champions League with Gian Piero Gasperini's side only six points behind struggling Juventus in third place.

"It was an incredible emotion," Milito said after the final whistle. "It's tough to explain with words.

"I'm very happy for the Genoa people but now we have to continue like this until the end of the season. Fiorentina are not giving up and they are probably more used to playing for this kind of objective than us. So they have a slight advantage – but we won't give up."

The Argentinian international, who scored 33 goals in 59 Serie B appearances for Genoa between 2003 and 2005, rejoined the Liguria team in the summer after three seasons with Real Zaragoza in Spain.

He has scored 19 goals in 27 league games this season, attracting the interest of the biggest clubs in Serie A and Europe even if club President Enrico Preziosi has recently defined him as "priceless".

"I don't want to talk about the transfer market at all," Milito said. "I'm just focused on our objectives."

Milito had already scored the winner in the first derby of the season and Genoa have now won both Serie A meetings against Coppa Italia finalists Samp for the first time since the 1964/65 season.

Ahead of Sunday's game, Genoa were already certain to finish ahead of their city rivals for the first time since 1977.

"We had something to prove after losing two games in a row and we did it," said coach Gasperini.

"We proved we are still in good form and we will fight until the end with Fiorentina for a place in the UEFA Champions League."

Source: UEFA

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