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Coppa Italia: Derby d’Italia Semis Showdown, Holders Face Tough Test


Coppa Italia: Derby d’Italia Semis Showdown, Holders Face Tough Test

The Coppa Italia is set to serve up a couple of blockbuster semi-final matchups this year. First up, Inter Milan face rivals Juventus for another Derby d’Italia matchup as they meet in the first leg at San Siro.

Then, reigning Coppa Italia champions Napoli will continue the defence of their title as they host dangerous Atalanta at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Read on below as SBOTOP breaks down both of these mouth-watering first-leg matches in great detail.

Inter Milan vs Juventus

Inter and Juventus will meet once again at San Siro just weeks after their first league matchup. Inter easily won that match 2-0 thanks to goals from former Juve man Arturo Vidal and Nicolo Barella.

That was Inter’s first win over their bitter rivals since 2016. Juve had won five of their previous seven league encounters and have lost just twice in the last seven years.

Inter had to work harder to knock out city rivals AC Milan in the cup quarter-finals as they needed a late Christian Eriksen free kick deep into stoppage time.

The Nerazzurri then thumped newly promoted Benevento 4-0 over the weekend. Antonio Conte fielded a significantly rotated side to rest some of his starters ahead of the semi-final, but he still needed to bring on his star strikers to finish the game off.

Lukaku came off the bench to bag a brace as he upped his tally in the league to 14 goals. Meanwhile, strike partner Lautaro Martinez scored his first goal in seven games, which should boost his confidence ahead of the semi-final.

As for Juventus, they took care of Sampdoria 2-0, which was their fourth straight win since losing to Inter. They’ve scored 10 goals in those four games while keeping four clean sheets.

Curiously, only one of the 10 goals they scored came from Cristiano Ronaldo, who has not been banging in the goals of late. The 35-year-old has only one goal in his last four matches, which is a slump by his incredibly high standards.

Luckily for the Old Lady, new signings Federico Chiesa, Alvaro Morata, Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie have been stepping up to contribute goals.

With Ronaldo out, Morata, Kulusevski, and Chiesa all scored in Juve’s 4-0 smashing of SPAL in the quarter-finals. Kulusevski and Morata also scored in their 3-2 win over Genoa in the previous round.

Juventus and Inter last faced each other in the Coppa Italia in 2016, which was also in the semi-final round. Both sides won their home legs 3-0, which resulted in penalties. Juve won the shootout 5-3.

Betting Tip: 1X2 Draw @ 3.20

Napoli vs Atalanta

Napoli helped ease the pressure on under-fire coach Gennaro Gattuso with a 2-0 win over struggling Parma over the weekend.

Gattuso has been under increasing pressure following consecutive defeats to Juventus in the Super Cup and to Verona in the league. But he has since bounced back with back-to-back wins beginning with their 4-2 victory over Spezia in the quarter-finals.

With star midfielder Fabian Ruiz still sidelined due to Covid, Eljif Elmas started in both wins as Gattuso returned to a 4-3-3 formation to provide more stability in defence. And the 21-year-old midfielder has repaid the faith in him by scoring two goals.

Matteo Politano has also been in fine form as he found the net in both matches. However, Hirving Lozano looks like the favourite to keep his place on the right wing. The Mexican winger has scored 4 goals in his last 6 games. Lozano also starred in Napoli’s first meeting against Atalanta this season as he scored a brace in a 4-1 win.

As for Atalanta, they suffered their first defeat in any competition since November as they fell 3-1 to Lazio. Just a few days earlier, Atalanta came from behind to knock Lazio out of the Coppa Italia with a 3-2 win. And that was despite being down to 10 men for the last 26 minutes and Duvan Zapata missing a penalty.

Josip Ilicic, who was so impressive in their 3-0 demolition of Serie A leaders Milan, was off his game against Lazio, and so was Zapata.

Mario Pasalic, who scored against Lazio, and Luis Muriel will be candidates to enter the starting line-up against Napoli. Meanwhile, wing-back Robin Gosens is set to return after serving out a one-game suspension.

Napoli and Atalanta last met in the Coppa Italia in the quarter-final stage in 2018. Atalanta won 2-1 in Naples.

Betting Tip: 1X2 Napoli @ 2.32

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 


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