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Inter squeeze past Roma into Cup semi-final

Thursday, January 22, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 10:54 AM

ROME (AFP) – Inter Milan moved a step closer to their fifth Italian Cup final appearance in a row with a 2-1 quarter-final victory over AS Roma at the San Siro on Wednesday.

Goals from Adriano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were enough to give the Italian champions a place in the semi-finals despite Rodrigo Taddei's reply for the capital club.

Inter squeeze past Roma into Cup semi-final Inter Milan's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring during the Italian Cup

These two sides had contested the last four Coppa Italia finals, winning two each.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho got the reaction he wanted following Sunday's 3-1 humbling at Atalanta.

"This was a good response to the loss in Bergamo," he said. "When we talk to each other on the pitch, everything works better.

"It's OK to lose a match but it depends on how you do so."

With Roma 13 points off the pace in the Serie A title race and facing Arsenal in the Champions League second round, this was their best chance of landing silverware this season.

"We deserved more," said their coach Luciano Spalletti. "We played well. When you play this way you can go home satisfied."

Roma had the first clear-cut chance as Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic burst between Inter centre-backs Walter Samuel and Nicolas Burdisso into the box.

Vucinic went down under the sandwich challenge and as he fell he knocked the ball into the net with his hand but instead of giving the visitors a penalty the referee booked Vucinic for the handball.

A minute later Roma's defence parted like the Rea Sea as Adriano gave the hosts the lead.

For a moment Roma's defenders seemed to be running around on ice.

Juan and John Arne Riise converged on an innocuous looking ball but somehow managed to collide with each other and fall over, allowing Adriano to take the ball on.

Cicinho was still covering but he too slipped over for no apparent reason and his Brazilian compatriot gratefully strode on and finished past Artur on 10 minutes.

Inter briefly threatened to run riot as Dejan Stankovic met a cross from Maicon full on the volley on 20 minutes only to see his stunning efort crash back off the bar.

Moments later Ibrahimovic beat the offside trap and tried to chip onrushing goalkeeper Artur but didn't quite get enough purchase on his effort and the Brazilian tipped it away for a corner.

Roma came back into the game and Simone Perrotta forced Francesco Toldo to parry a fierce drive at his near post before the veteran goalkeeper did brilliantly to tip a Matteo Brighi shot around the upright.

Roma didn't give up hope and kept pushing in the second half, getting a deserved equaliser on the hour.

The excellent Brighi burst into the box and cut inside his marker only to be tackled but Brazilian midfielder Taddei was following up and he thrashed the ball home from just inside the box.

Almost immediately, though, Roma's defence went to sleep at an Esteban Cambiasso free-kick and Samuel stole around the back to get his head on it.

Artur pulled off a reaction save but Ibrahimovic hooked the loose ball home.

If the Roma defence were sleeping, so too was the linesman as television replays showed Samuel was offside when the free-kick was struck.

Roma were back to square one but Chile midfielder Claudio Pizarro forced Toldo into a sprawling save 16 minutes from time with a long-range effort.

In the day's other quarter-final Sampdoria gave their under-fire coach Walter Mazzarri a lifeline by defeating hosts Udinese on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored his first goal for Samp since his transfer window signing from Fiorentina, giving them the lead 10 minutes after the break.

But only eight minutes later Antonio Di Natale equalised from the spot.

Extra-time didn't produce any goals so it went to a shoot-out with both Simone Pepe and Gaetano D'Agostino missing for Udinese as Samp won that 4-1.

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