Italian Cup: Lukaku Books Inter Clash With AC Milan, Holders Napoli Advance

Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (L) celebrates after scoring a header during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) round of sixteen football match Fiorentina vs Inter Milan on January 13, 2021 at the Artemio-Franchi stadium in Florence. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

 

Romelu Lukaku headed in an extra-time winner as Inter Milan set up an Italian Cup quarter-final clash with city rivals AC Milan on Wednesday with a 2-1 last-16 win over Fiorentina.

Belgian Lukaku connected with Nicolo Barella’s cross in the 119th minute to beat Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano and snatch a late triumph.

Chilean Arturo Vidal had given Inter the advantage five minutes before the break-in normal time after a VAR review judged Terracciano to have fouled Alexis Sanchez.

But Christian Kouame blasted in a superb equaliser 12 minutes after half-time to take the match to extra-time.

Lukaku came off the bench on 69 minutes and with a minute to go ensured Inter avoided going to a penalty shootout with his 17th goal this season in all competitions.

“It was important to qualify, there will be time to recover,” said coach Antonio Conte days before Inter host champions Juventus in Serie A.

“This results will give us a boost. We’ll now measure our ambitions against Juventus.”

AC Milan won 5-4 on penalties on Tuesday after their match against Torino ended 0-0 after extra time.

Holders Napoli advanced with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Empoli.

The Tuscany side had a Covid-19 scare hours before kick-off with several team members forced to isolate after contact with a positive case. All tested negative.

Andrea Petagna scored the winner off a rebound with a quarter of an hour to go after Nedim Bajrami had twice pulled Empoli level.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo headed in a Hirving Lozano cross after 18 minutes, with the Mexican scoring the second seven minutes before the break.

Napoli next play either Roma or Spezia in the quarter-finals.

Record 13-time winners Juventus taking on Genoa in Turin later Wednesday.

AFP

Napoli Beat Inter To Reach Italian Cup Final As Mertens Breaks Record

Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly (L) works around Inter Milan's Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Napoli vs Inter Milan on June 13, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, played behind closed doors as the country gradually eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP
Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly (L) works around Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Napoli vs Inter Milan on June 13, 2020. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Dries Mertens fired Napoli to the Italian Cup final on Saturday after netting the goal which gave his side a 2-1 aggregate semi-final win over Inter Milan and made him the club’s all-time top scorer.

Napoli will face Juventus in Wednesday’s final in Rome thanks to Belgium forward Mertens, who slotted home his 122nd goal for Napoli four minutes before half-time to make the score 1-1 on the night and give them overall victory after a 1-0 first-leg win at the San Siro in February.

Christian Eriksen had levelled the tie for Inter straight from a corner in the second minute and the away side continued to dominate the first half, but Mertens ended a lightning counter-attack to put the hosts through at the Stadio San Paolo.

Mertens, 33, overtakes Marek Hamsik and moves seven clear of Diego Maradona, who scored 115 goals in all competitions and won two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup over his seven tumultuous years in southern Italy.

Although there were no fans in the stands at the San Paolo, public broadcaster RAI reported that a small number of Napoli fans that had gathered outside the San Paolo set off fireworks throughout half-time in celebration of Merten’s goal.

Mertens moved to Napoli from PSV Eindhoven in 2013 and has become so settled in Naples that fans have nicknamed him ‘Ciro’, a hugely common Neapolitan name.

Napoli will take on Juve at the Italian capital’s Stadio Olimpico after Maurizio Sarri’s side squeezed past AC Milan on away goals following a 0-0 draw in Turin on Friday, Italy’s first competitive football match since the country become the global coronavirus epicentre.

As with Friday’s match, Napoli and Inter players gathered around the centre circle for a minute’s silence in tribute to the more than 34,000 people who have died in Italy as a result of COVID-19.

There will likely be a big television audience for two of Italy’s best-supported clubs.

According to Italian media, some 8.3 million people tuned into RAI to watch Friday’s goalless draw at Juve’s Allianz Stadium, the largest TV audience for a football match this season.

Italian Cup: Ronaldo Misses Penalty In Milan Clash

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday missed a penalty during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match against AC Milan.

The superstar hit the post in the second leg clash against AC Milan with the aggregate score at 1-1.

Fans were quick to take to social media and say Ronaldo was copying his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in missing the penalty.

Meanwhile, Juve are missing captain Giorgio Chiellini, striker Gonzalo Higuain, Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Turkey defender Merih Demiral.

On the other hand, Milan are without injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they attempt to beat Juve in Turin for the first time since 2011. Forward Samu Castillejo and defender Theo Hernandez are suspended.

More to follow…

Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic Set For Italian Cup Clash

A photo combination of Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set to go head-to-head in Thursday’s Italian Cup semi-final, first leg between Juventus and AC Milan at the San Siro.

Both Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic scored at the weekend in defeats as Juventus fell 2-1 at Hellas Verona, while AC Milan threw away a two-goal lead in a 4-2 defeat by city rivals Inter.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted,” said the 35-year-old Ronaldo despite becoming the first Juventus player to score in 10 successive league games, just one game short of the Serie A record.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season.

Ibrahimovic, 38, has scored three goals since returning to Milan last month.

The Swede headed in the second goal on Sunday after setting up the first, but Inter hit back with four second-half strikes.

“I showed that I can still make a difference, even at 38,” he said.

But Inter striker Romelu Lukaku will be looking to upstage the two other former Manchester United players against Napoli in the other last-four first leg on Wednesday.

Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli, despite their current slump, ousted holders Lazio in the quarter-finals.

“There’s a new king in town,” a jubilant Lukaku wrote on Twitter after scoring the fourth goal for Inter in Sunday’s derby.

“We run this town.”

The Belgian was replying to Ibrahimovic’s pre-derby post saying that “lions don’t compare themselves to humans”.

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has reason to be worried by his side’s away form, with the defending Serie A champions having lost their last two games on the road.

“I hope that someone will help me, it’s something we have to resolve,” Sarri said after the loss to Verona.

“Right now we have a difference in performance between home and away.”

Juventus are bidding to reclaim the trophy which they held for four seasons until losing to eventual runners-up Atalanta in the quarters last year.

Antonio Conte’s Inter are the only one of the four semi-finalists to win in Serie A at the weekend, with Napoli crashing to a 3-2 defeat by lowly Lecce.

Inter’s victory lifted them ahead of Juventus on goal difference at the top of the table, as they target their first Scudetto since 2010.

The second-leg ties will take place on March 4 and 5.

AFP

Juventus Crush AC Milan 4-0 To Win Fourth Consecutive Italian Cup Title

Juventus’ players celebrate after winning the Italian Tim Cup (Coppa Italia) final Juventus vs AC Milan at the Olympic stadium on May 9, 2018 in Rome. PHOTO: Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Juventus crushed AC Milan 4-0 on Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico to win a fourth consecutive Italian Cup.

Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgates after 56 minutes for the first of a double of the night for the Moroccan with Douglas Costa also finding the net in the space of nine minutes.

A Nikola Kalinic own goal accounted for the fourth.

It was the 13th Cup win for Juventus, who are also poised to become the first Italian team to complete the double for four years in a row.

AFP

Pjanic Sends Juventus Into Fourth Successive Italian Cup Final

Juventus’ midfielder Miralem Pjanic of Bosnia (R) celebrates after scoring during the Italian Tim Cup football match between Juventus and Atalanta at the ‘Allianz Stadium’ in Turin on February 28, 2018. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Holders Juventus booked their ticket to the Italian Cup final for the fourth year in a row after a 1-0 win over Atalanta in a semi-final second leg tie played in the snow in Turin on Wednesday.

The first leg ended 1-0 in Bergamo thanks to an early Gonzalo Higuain goal, and Juventus won the second when Miralem Pjanic slotted in a 75th-minute penalty awarded after Blaise Matuidi was fouled in the box.

The three-time holders will play either AC Milan or Lazio — who are 0-0 going into the second semi-final later on Wednesday in the Stadio Olympico — in the final which will be in Rome on May 9.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus are bidding for a record fourth successive Cup title and 13th in total.

AFP