Thursday, 11 January 2007

Coppa Italia, QF: First Leg Review

Inter, Roma, Milan and Sampdoria have one foot in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia after first leg victories this week.

Adriano rediscovered his scoring touch with the opening goal in Inter's 2-0 win at Empoli. The Serie A leaders look on course for the semi-finals of the competition after striking in the final 20 minutes of the first leg tie.

In front of a sparse crowd at Empoli, Inter struggled to make the breakthrough until the 71st minute. Esteban Cambiasso and Zlatan Ibrahimovic linked up expertly to provide Adriano with a chance, which he converted with aplomb.

Inter grabbed a potentially crucial second goal in the final minute, as Mariano Gonzalez's cross eluded Empoli keeper Davide Bassi and was headed in by Ivan Cordoba.

Roma secured a narrow advantage in their quarter-final tie against Parma. The Giallorossi looked to be in a strong position after goals from Mancini (19) and Francesco Totti (67) put them two goals to the good at the Stadio Olimpico.

However Parma gave themselves a foothold in the tie ahead of the second leg next week when Zlatko Dedic scored with three minutes to go in the Eternal City.

Nine-man Sampdoria also won by a one goal margin against Chievo, with two dismissals in the final ten minutes. Luigi Sala gave Samp a crucial first leg advantage with a goal after 21 minutes, but the game will have disciplinary repercussions for the Genoa-based club after the late red cards shown to Cristian Maggio and Ruben Olivera.

Milan put themselves in pole position to reach the last four with a 2-0 win over Arezzo. Goals in each half from Alberto Gilardino and Filippo Inzaghi were enough to give the Rossoneri a comfortable first leg advantage.

Gilardino broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when he latched onto Clarence Seedorf's pass and rounded the goalkeeper before scoring. Inzaghi replaced Gilardino at the start of the second half and he grabbed the second goal five minutes after the restart.

Leandro Grimi was handed his Milan debut late on as Carlo Ancelotti's men secured a two-goal cushion for the second leg next Thursday.

The rest of the quarter-final second leg matches will all take place next Wednesday.

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