Coppa Italia: Six will become four as the quarter finals come to a close

Claudio Villa

The remaining two semi-finalists in this year’s Coppa Italia will be decided this week.

Lazio and Juventus set up a meeting with each other last week. We now await the final pairing, as Inter Milan host Bologna, then AS Roma travel to face Fiorentina. New champions are already guaranteed after Napoli fell at the previous hurdle.

The Roma game was originally due to be played at the Stadio Olimpico. However, the game was switched when Lazio qualified for the quarter-finals and were drawn as the home side for their game against Catania. Due to Lazio being seeded higher than Roma, the Giallorossi's game was transferred to Florence. There was never a danger of there being a clash, considering Lazio played their tie last week and Roma's was scheduled for this week. Roma argued their case, taking an appeal to the FIGC Court of Justice, but it was thrown out.

Inter and Bologna bring no such problems and Nerazzurri coach Andrea Stramaccioni sees the competition as the perfect tonic to rejuvenate his side, who have struggled for league form in recent weeks.

"We will give great importance to this quarter-final," the 37-year-old said. "As well as going far in the League and the Europa League, we want to get to the latter stages of the Coppa.

"It is just a one-off game, so we have to be careful.

"Bologna are a team that can trouble any side. They are in a moment of good form and have some strong attacking players.

"We have great respect for them but we have to believe we can reach the semi-finals."

Bologna are bouncing after a morale boosting 4-0 victory over Chievo Verona at the weekend. Alberto Gilardino was back amongst the goals with a brace and will be vying for a starting place. After knocking out holders Napoli on their own turf in the last round - just days after achieving the same feat in the league, the Rossoblu can't be underestimated. Stefano Piolo has relied on his reserves to get this far, but could be tempted to bring in the stars now that the club are close to the final stages.

Inter got by Hellas Verona in the previous round. The game will best be remembered for Rodrigo Palacio's cameo in goal after Luca Castellazzi was stretchered off injured, with all three substitues already on the pitch.

New Inter signing Tommaso Rocchi looks likely to get some playing time under his belt, after coming on as a substitute midway through the second half in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Pescara.

Others in contention are Diego Milito, Walter Gargano, Gaby Mudingayi and MacDonald Mariga, who are working their way back to fitness and all started from the bench at the weekend.

Fiorentina have seen off Novara and Juve Stabia at home, then squeezed past Udinese at the Friuli in the fifth round to get to this stage. The Viola have surprisingly lost both of their league games since the Christmas break and Vincenzo Montella is facing his first major test as manager.

Roma have had an easier route, having joined the competition in the previous round. They made short work of Atalanta, but come into this game without several key players.

Pablo Osvaldo is suspended for lashing out with his elbow against Atalanta. Joining him on the sidelines is club captain Francesco Totti, after he pulled a quadricep muscle during the warm-up in the weekend loss at Catania. Defender Ivan Piris went off injured during the same game and is also unlikely to be risked.

Bologna have won the competition twice in their history, Fiorentina are six time titleholders, while Roma are tied with Juventus in pole position as nine time winners. Of the six teams still in the hunt, Inter are the ones that have tasted victory most recently, winning their sixth and seventh cups back to back in 2010 and 2011.

Schedule

Inter Milan vs. Bologna - Tuesday, 3 pm ET

Fiorentina vs. AS Roma - Wednesday, 3 pm ET

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