Inter the cup as Milan, Roma look to reach semifinals
ROME: Inter Milan host Lazio tonight and Roma take on second-division Cesena a day later to complete the quarter-final programme of the Italian Cup.
Inter are buoyant after a seventh straight win in Serie A action and moved into fourth place past Lazio, who lost 1-0 at home to Chievo.
The Nerazzurri beat bottom side Pescara 3-0 and are already looking ahead to the next league match at league leaders Juventus on Sunday, while at the same time not undervaluing the cup.
“Before Juventus we have another massively important game against Lazio, so we’ll put everything into that,” said full-back Danilo D’Ambrosio, who opened the scoring against Pescara.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, meanwhile, tried to look past the home defeat marked by countless missed chances from his squad.
“I told my lads to look ahead and be proud of their performance,” Inzaghi said. “(Tonight) it will be a crucial one-leg game; we will prepare it carefully.
“Luck was against us, but things will be different next time and we will win.”
The winners from the Giuseppe Meazza match are likely to tackle Roma in the two-leg semi-finals set for March 1 and April 5.
The Rome Giallorossi lost 3-2 at Sampdoria on Sunday but should have no problems tomorrow against Cesena, who sit in the lower reaches of the Serie B.
A cup victory could boost the second-placed club for the upcoming league tasks, with defender Bruno Peres upbeat they can still fight for the Serie A title.
“We hope to bounce back as quickly as possible,” he said. “Let’s keep our heads up; there are a lot of fixtures to go and we need to try and close the gap on Juventus again.”
Cesena, meanwhile, have no illusions of the difficulty of the task they face against against Roma.
“We are aware of the technical gap to Roma, a team fighting for the league title while we are fighting for salvation in the Serie B. But we will face the game in the best possible way,” defender Francesco Renzetti said after a weekend 2-2 draw with Ascoli.
Holders Juve, who seek an unprecedented third straight trophy, and Napoli are already qualified for the semis. The final is set for June 2 in Rome. – dpa