MILAN - Sampdoria held off an Inter Milan fightback to reach the Italian Cup 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 against Lazio. "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. Soon afterwards the Swede forced a desperate save from Luca Castellazzi with a header before hitting the post with a diagonal lob, while Julio Cruz nodded narrowly wide on the stroke of halftime. 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. Lazio won 2-1 at Juventus on Wednesday to complete a 4-2 aggregate win and take their place in the May 13 final on home territory at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
24 April 2009
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