Thursday, 18 January 2007

Coppa Italia, QF: Second Leg Review

Inter, Roma, Milan and Sampdoria have qualified for the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia at the end of this month.

Inter cruised into the semi-finals after they beat Empoli 2-0 at the San Siro to complete a 4-0 aggregate win on Wednesday.

The holders went ahead in the 28th minute, when winger Mariano Gonzalez curled in a low ball from the right and Esteban Cambiasso ran in unmarked to the far post to angle in a shot. Italy defender Fabio Grosso scored the second with a powerful left-footed shot 13 minutes from the end.

In the semi-finals they will face four-times winners Sampdoria, who beat Chievo 2-1 for a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Sampdoria never looked like losing after Fabio Bazzani hit the post and Emiliano Bonazzoli tapped in the rebound in the 42nd minute. Chievo midfielder Michele Marcolini pulled one back but five minutes from the end Gennaro Delvecchio headed in a free kick to restore Sampdoria's two-goal cushion.

Roma squeezed through when a late goal by David Pizarro gave them a 2-2 draw with Parma to earn a 3-2 aggregate win.

Roma struggled to subdue Parma who struck in the 11th minute when Swedish striker Zlatan Muslimovic crept in front of his marker to nod a low cross into the top corner of Roma's net.

Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi headed in a Pizarro free kick to bring Roma level on the half hour but Muslimovic struck again just before halftime.

In the 85th minute Pizarro took advantage of a short clearance to beat Parma keeper Fabio Virgili with a low drive from the edge of the area.

In Thursday's remaining quarter-final, Milan booked their semi-final berth with Roma after surviving a surpsingly close quarter-final tie with Serie B strugglers Arezzo. Indeed Arezzo claimed a memorable scalp as they beat Milan 1-0 at their Stadio Comunale home - but that was not enough as they bowed out 2-1 on aggregate.

The tiny Tuscan outfit were up for the fight and after a goalless first half they took the lead on 52 minutes when Antonio Floro Flores broke clear and fired home.
Arezzo almost levelled the tie with just five minutes left when Roberto Goretti hit the woodwork, but Carlo Ancelotti's side managed to hang-on and claim their place in the last four.

The semi-finals will take place later this month with the first legs on January 24/25 2007 and the return matches on January 31/February 1. The Coppa Italia Final will also be played over two legs on 18 April and 9 May.

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