27.01.2016 11:30 - in: Coppa Italia S

      Inter’s semi-final arrival

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      Five goals for and zero against are the standout numbers surrounding Inter’s passage to the Coppa Italia semi-final. Juventus.com deals with all the other details from the Nerazzurri’s cup run
      Beating Cagliari at a canter

      Entering the competition at the last-16 stage at home to Cagliari, Inter boss Roberto Mancini fielded a number of fringe squad members, but that proved more than sufficient to see off their Sardinian opponents.

      Lining up alongside 18-year-old Albanian forward Rey Manaj, the more experienced Rodrigo Palacio took his chance on 26 minutes to score his first goal of the season.

      Inter's line-up against Cagliari

      Despite the hosts’ general dominance in terms of shots on target (8 to Cagliari’s 3), possession (64.6 to 35.4 per cent) and touches in the opposition box (27 to 7), the Serie B promotion hopefuls (incidentally counting on-loan Bianconeri Alberto Cerri and Andres Tello among their ranks) prevented the Nerazzurri from adding to their tally until the 71st minute.

      On this occasion, Palacio turned provider, setting up Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, who had been a constant menace on the left side of a 4-4-2, attempting four shots in total, creating three scoring opportunities and whipping in five crosses on the evening.

      Marcelo Brozovic scored Inter's second goal on the night.

      Ten minutes later, second-half substitute Ivan Perisic, a compatriot of Brozovic, added gloss to the victory, conjuring up his team’s third and final strike, thus putting their qualification to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals beyond all doubt.

      Punishing the Partenopei

      If the Nerazzurri had been obvious favourites to progress in the previous round, a far more even duel was on the cards for their trip south to current Serie A leaders Napoli.

      After all, Maurizio Sarri’s men boast the best home form this term, having taken 26 points from their opening ten league matches, while Mancini’s charges are tied in second place with the Partenopei (21 points apiece) out of the division’s strongest away records.

      As one might suspect, the hosts enjoyed the better of the goalmouth action on the evening, fashioning seven shots on target to Inter’s three, while managing 12 touches in the opposition penalty area to the visitors’ eight.

      Having had the better of the possession in the first half (54.9 per cent), Inter incidentally did the damage in the final third when they saw less of the ball during the second period (44.5 per cent) with Napoli pushing men further forward in search of a goal of their own.

      Stevan Jovetic netted Inter's opener at the San Paolo in spectacular fashion.

      With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, Stevan Jovetic collected Gary Medel’s pass before unleashing an unstoppable drive from outside the box past a helpless Pepe Reina into the top corner.

      After coming on for Manolo Gabbiadini, Serie A’s leading goalscorer this term, Gonzalo Higuain, had a couple of chances to equalise, but his team’s efforts to get back on level terms received a notable blow following Dries Mertens’ dismissal in the 88th minute.

      Adem Ljajic's injury-time goal all but wrapped up victory for the visitors.

      Capitalising on their numerical advantage, Jovetic slid a fine ball through to Adem Ljajic, who ran from within his own half before beating Reina with a cool finish in the second minute of stoppage time, thus sewing up his side’s semi-final berth against the Bianconeri.

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