Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Roma-Napoli Preview: Wounded Partenopei seek redemption in cup

Napoli's Goran Pandev.

Roma's quest for a 10th Coppa Italia title continues on Wednesday with a semi-final first-leg clash against a wounded Napoli side.

Rudi Garcia's charges have lost just one match in all competitions this season - to Serie A leaders and champions Juventus - giving them cause for confidence as they look to book their place in a second successive final.

The Giallorossi's efficient displays have seen them eliminate Sampdoria and Juve with consecutive 1-0 home victories, while Napoli have dumped out Atalanta and holders Lazio.

The capital-based club last won this competition in 2008, when they picked up a 2-1 victory over Inter in the final, while Napoli's latest success came four years later when they triumphed 2-0 against Juventus in what was their first final appearance since 1997.

Roma's aforementioned strong form sees them occupy second spot in the Italian top flight, nine points behind Juve with a game in hand, and they will be well rested after their fixture against Parma was abandoned due to adverse weather conditions on Sunday.

Third-placed Napoli wasted a chance to close the gap on Roma at the weekend, though, as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Atalanta.

The hosts last lost at home to Napoli in February 2011, when Edinson Cavani scored two second-half goals to complete a league double over Roma.

Miralem Pjanic found the net twice as Roma claimed a 2-0 victory when the sides met in the league earlier this campaign.

Federico Balzaretti is nearing a return from injury for Roma but is unlikely to feature on Wednesday, while the Partenopei are likely to be without long-term absentees Valon Behrami and Giandomenico Mesto.

New signing Jorginho, who made his debut in last week's quarter-final win over Lazio, will be keen to prove his worth to the team having been omitted from Napoli's Europa League squad.

Roma-Napoli Preview: Wounded Partenopei seek redemption in cup Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown

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