Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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25.01. (Wed) 20:45 Napoli - Inter

Inter celebrating (Getty Images)
Getty Images



De Sanctis
Fernandez, Cannavaro, Britos
Maggio, Dzemaili, Gargano, Zuniga
Pandev, Lavezzi

Julio Cesar
Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Zanetti
Faraoni, Poli, Thiago Motta, Alvarez

Napoli will be looking for a repeat result from their last fixture against Inter, having beaten them 3-0 at San Siro in Serie A action earlier this season.

As such, coach Walter Mazzarri will only be employing limited turnover. Ezequiel Lavezzi is likely to play from the start after returning from injury during the 1-1 draw with Siena with attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik being given a rest. Wing-back Juan Camilo Zuniga will be handed a place on the flank and Federico Fernandez should step into the three-man defence.

Meanwhile, Inter boss Claudio Ranieri will likely have to do without the service of full-back Yuto Nagatomo as the Japan international suffered a slight injury to his right foot. Centre-back Andrea Ranocchia should replace one of Lucio or Walter Samuel and youngsters Marco Faraoni and Andrea Poli may be given the chance to shine in midfield once again as was the case during last week's 2-1 victory over Genoa.

Playmaker Wesley Sneijder could start in support of a lone striker with in-form duo Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini up for the role, but the former Roma boss could also turn to Mauro Zarate or Luc Castaignos.

Veterans Diego Forlan and Dejan Stankovic remain sidelined due to a thigh and achilles problem respectively while young midfielder Coutinho and defender Cristian Chivu are both doubtful. Sulley Muntari is away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana.


  • Napoli have won the tournament on three occasions, their last triumph coming in 1987 when they defeated Atalanta by a 4-0 aggregate score over a two-legged final.
  • Mazzarri's side faced Inter at the same stage of the competition (quarter finals) last season at the same venue (Stadio San Paolo) and lost 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw due to Lavezzi's miss.
  • Striker Edinson Cavani has an impressive 16 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions this season, including a strike in the Round of 16 victory over Cesena.
  • Inter have won eight matches in a row in all competitions, conceding just three goals during that time.
  • Milito (five) and Pazzini (four) have scored a combined nine goals during that span, though neither forward featured in the Round of 16 triumph against Genoa last week.
  • The Nerazzurri have been in six of the last seven Coppa Italia finals, claiming the trophy on four of those occasions.
The Stadio San Paolo can be a fairly intimidating place, just ask Manchester City, and you can expect this match to be similar to last season's domestic cup encounter between the two sides, possibly going to extra-time and even penalties once again. A tough match to predict, but Inter's depth might just see them through.
Editor's Prediction
Napoli 0-1 Inter