Will Inter win their first silverware of the season?
Kick-Off: Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 20:45 CET.
Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy.
Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy.
The treble is on
On Wednesday night Inter will attempt to clinch the first of the three trophies they can potentially win this season. The Nerazzurri are in the final of the Champions League and are in pole position in Serie A with two more rounds of matches left, and a win against Roma in the Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome will see them stay on course for the domestic and European treble.
Inter have never achieved the treble in their history and have won the Coppa Italia on just five occasions. The last time they won the Italian cup was in the 2005-06 campaign when they defeated Roma 4-2 on aggregate in the two-legged final.
The Beneamata have been a greatly improved and effective side under Jose Mourinho this season. Inter have looked a stronger and more robust unit than last term and have also absorbed a winning mentality this time around, especially in Europe.
The Italian champions for the past four years warmed up for this fixture with a 2-0 win against Lazio at the Olimpico on Sunday night and got past Fiorentina in the semi-finals.
Chasing the tenth cup
Roma have won the Coppa Italia on nine occasions and are the most successful side in the history of the domestic tournament alongside Juventus. This week the Giallorossi have a great chance of pulling themselves ahead of the Bianconeri by winning the trophy for a historic 10th time.
Roma won the Coppa Italia in 2007 and 2008 and on both occasions they defeated Inter in the final, having lost the previous pair of finals to the Nerazzurri. Claudio Ranieri's side beat Udinese 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals this year to reach the final. So the Lupi will be playing in their own stadium, but they will not have any advantage of extra home supporters for the final.
Roma are currently challenging Inter for the Scudetto and are just two points behind the Nerazzurri in second place with two more rounds of matches to be played in the Italian top flight this campaign. Ranieri's team warmed up for this match with a 2-1 away win against Parma on Saturday evening and had an extra day to prepare for the cup finale.
Roma managed to negotiate their two league fixtures against Inter this season without suffering a defeat, earning a home win after an away draw. The Giallorossi will be keen for a victory as it will not only mean that they don't end up 2009-10 trophyless but could potentially unsettle Inter too. It will also mean that the Italian Cup remains in Rome for the fourth year in a row after Lazio's triumph last term.
May 2 v Lazio (A) - WON 2-0 (Serie A)
April 28 v Barcelona (A) - LOST 1-0 (Champions League)
April 24 v Atalanta (H) - WON 3-1 (Serie A)
April 20 v Barcelona (H) - WON 3-1 (Champions League)
April 16 v Juventus (H) - WON 2-0 (Serie A)
May 1 v Parma (A) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)
April 25 v Sampdoria (H) - LOST 2-1 (Serie A)
April 21 v Udinese (A) - LOST 1-0 (Coppa Italia)
April 18 v Lazio (A) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)
April 11 v Atalanta (H) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)
Lucio is reportedly struggling with an injury he picked up against Lazio at the weekend. Inter coach Jose Mourinho could still play him if he recovers by Wednesday or he might draft in Ivan Cordoba at centre-back in his place. Diego Milito should start alongside Samuel Eto'o in attack and will be supported by Wesley Sneijder from the midfield.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Motta; Sneijder; Eto'o, Milito
Marco Cassetti is suspended after being sent off against Udinese in the second leg of the semi-final tie. Nicolas Burdisso is likely to start at right-back in his place and Juan and Philippe Mexes will be the two central defenders. Mirko Vucinic and John Arne Riise are reportedly struggling with minor knocks but they should be fit for the final. Coach Claudio Ranieri is likely to start striker Luca Toni on the bench and play Francesco Totti as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Julio Sergio, Burdisso, Juan, Mexes, Riise; Pizarro, De Rossi; Menez, Perrotta, Vucinic; Totti
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wesley Sneijder (Inter)
The former Real Madrid midfielder has been Inter's most creative player this campaign and he will again be an important player for them against Roma in the final. The Nerazzurri are playing as a coherent, well functioning team at the moment and Sneijder is the man who links midfield to attack. The Dutch international playmaker has been very influential for the Beneamata in the big games this season and coach Jose Mourinho will be looking at him to break down the Roma defence.
Francesco Totti (Roma)
Totti has struggled with injuries on several occasions this campaign but he has returned in style. The Italian playmaker might be a bit slower at 33 but he remains a genius and a hugely vital player for Claudio Ranieri's side. Inter have a very strong defensive unit and are threatening on counter-attacks but Totti is the player whom the Roma faithful will be looking at to break the Nerazzurri wall. With Mirko Vucinic supporting him from the attacking midfield position, Totti will be eager to put one over the Scudetto challengers.
It promises to be an entertaining and perhaps intriguing match, and with both sides still in the mix for the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia final will be even more engaging. Roma may feel at home as the final is at the Stadio Olimpico but Inter know how to grind out results. However, the Giallorossi defeated Inter in the Coppa Italia finals in 2007 and 2008 but if the Nerazzurri score the first goal on Wednesday night, then they may well go on and win their first trophy of the season.
Inter 2-1 Roma
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