MILAN // Sampdoria held off an Inter Milan fightback to reach the Coppa Italia final despite losing Thursday's second leg 1-0. Inter, stung by a 3-0 defeat in the first leg, gave themselves hope when Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck midway through the first half but Sampdoria held on to clinch a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in the final. "Today we tried and we deserved to go through," Inter coach Jose Mourinho told Rai television.
"One side played to win, the other played to lose by less than three goals. I'm extremely proud of my players. With a pinch of luck we'd have won 3-0." The visitors from Genoa, cheered on by around 15,000 travelling fans, made a bright start as Inter struggled to adjust to a new formation with a three-man defence. Mourinho's side frequently resorted to fouls to halt Samp's advances early on but Ibrahimovic's right-footed strike ignited them.
Inter, who had Marco Materazzi sent off at the end of the match when he responded to being booked by applauding the referee, created plenty of other chances but ended up falling well short. Sampdoria face Lazio, who beat Juventus 4-2 on aggregate on Wednesday, in the May 13 final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Andriy Shevchenko wants to stay at AC Milan for the long term despite being used mainly as substitute this season after moving back to the San Siro from Chelsea.
"I am reborn and I would like to stay," the Ukrainian said after scoring twice in a midweek practice game. Fifth-placed Fiorentina host Roma in Serie A today hoping to leapfrog Genoa, their main rivals for Italy's fourth Champions League spot. The club from Florence are without midfielder Felipe Melo as he is serving a five-match ban for fighting against Cagliari. A victory would put his side one point ahead of Genoa, who travel to Bologna tomorrow.
* Reuters Fiorentina v Roma, Al Jazeera Sport + 1, KO 10.30pm