Thursday, 25 January 2007

Coppa Italia, SF: First Leg Review

Inter took a giant stride towards another Coppa Italia, while Roma staged a sterling fightback against Milan in the first legs of the semi-finals.

Inter’s astonishing form continued with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Sampdoria on Wednesday that has all but booked their third straight Final. Nicolas Burdisso netted twice to become the tournament's top scorer this season, but the match was closer than the scoreline suggests.

The defender opened the scoring after just nine minutes when he nipped in to turn home Luis Figo's free-kick. Figo was the provider of all three Inter goals and he supplied the corner for Hernan Crespo to head home the second on 24 minutes. On 57 minutes, Burdisso grabbed his second of the night when he rose well to head in another Figo corner.

But Roberto Mancini's side were grateful for a string of fine saves from Francesco Toldo to ensure the second leg next Thursdat should be little more than a formality.

On Thursday night, Milan surrendered a two-goal lead in their first leg tie as Roma collected a precious 2-2 draw at the San Siro.

Milan looked to be in cruise control when Ricardo Oliveira and Filippo Inzaghi found the scoresheet but remarkably, Roma were level by the interval, as Simone Perrotta and David Pizarro grabbed what could prove to be crucial away goals.

The game was overshadowed by the arrival of Ronaldo prior to kick-off, with the Brazilian to undergo a medical on Friday, but soon attention was fully focussed on the field when the Brazilian Oliveira grabbed a third-minute opener.

An opportunistic far post finish from Inzaghi put Milan in the driving seat but Roma stayed composed and found themselves back in the game when Roma defender Christian Panucci played in Perrotta to reduced the deficit.

Playmaker Pizarro then rewarded Roma's pressure late in the half in grabbing a deserved leveller and whilst there was no more scoring after the break, there were plenty of opportunities spurned by both sides in what was a match of the highest calibre.

They’ll meet again in the second leg next Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The Final will be played over two legs on 18 April and 9 May 2007.

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