Inter Milan beats Napoli on penalties
Inter Milan beat Napoli 5-4 on penalties on Wednesday to join AC Milan in the semifinals of the Italian Cup after its crosstwon rival beat Sampdoria 2-1.
Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi was the only player to miss in the shootout when he blasted the team's third kick over the bar, after the match had ended 0-0 after extra time. Fullback Cristian Chivu then scored the deciding penalty for Inter.
"It was a tough game and we really had to work hard," Inter captain Javier Zanetti said. "When you go to penalty kicks it comes down to luck and tonight we had luck on our side."
Inter's Esteban Cambiasso had the best chance of the first half, but volleyed Maicon's cross at Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis from close range.
Marek Hamsik went close twice in quick succession near the end of regulation. First Luca Castellazzi saved his shot, then Maicon cleared his follow up header off the line.
Inter will meet the winner of the quarterfinal between Juventus and AS Roma.
Earlier, Wednesday, Alexandre Pato's two first-half goals secured the win for Milan. Stefano Guberti pulled a goal back for Sampdoria early in the second half, but the Genoa club was unable to break down Milan's defense for the equalizer.
"We had a great game, especially in the first half," Milan defender Massimo Oddo said. "We made chances and took them. We knew Sampdoria would come back in the second half, but we managed to hold them out."
Milan will meet Palermo in the semifinals.
Netherlands pair Mark Van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson made starting debuts for Milan and lasted the full match.
"I think they are two good buys," Oddo said. "They are experienced and add quality to the squad. `It is not easy to play so soon after arriving and Van Bommel had a different role to the one he had at Bayern Munich, but he did very well tonight."
Milan opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Thiago Silva headed Robinho's corner into the path of Pato and the Brazilian hit a low shot past Angelo Da Costa.
Pato then linked up with Emanuelson for his second of the match. Emanuelson slipped the ball to Pato on the edge of the area, he rounded Sampdoria defender Pietro Accardi and blasted past Da Costa.
Guberti scored six minutes into the second half when he headed in Massimo Maccarone's cross.