Inter Milan host Fiorentina in the quarter-final of the Coppa Italia tonight as they continue their quest to win the trophy for the first time since 2011. Here are the Three Keys to this encounter. Bet on the game here.
Romelu Lukaku v Martin Caceres
Lukaku has been Inter Milan’s talisman in his first season in Italy. The Belgian is the club’s top scorer this season finding the net 22 times in 30 games in all competitions. He is third behind Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo in the league’s top scorer’s chart. In Fiorentina, he’ll be facing a resilient defence which has shut down Napoli and Juventus this season. The likes of Martin Caceres and German Pezzella will have a lot to do tonight when they face one of Europe’s most prolific strikers.
Uruguay defender Martin Caceres will need to be on top of his game tonight. He’s been ever-present for Fiorentina and been an important player in Vincenzo Montella’s team and that of newly appointed manager Giuseppe Iachini. The 32-year-old is obviously past his best but in a game of this magnitude, he offers a calm presence. He should go one on one with Lukaku since he usually plays on the left of a three-man defence.
Experience v Youth
Inter Milan have personnel that have been there and done that. Nerazzurri’s coach Antonio Conte has won numerous trophies and has taken charge of teams in crucial stages. Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, Diego Godin and Borja Valero have been in the game for a long time. Their experience will be invaluable against a stubborn Fiorentina side. Most of these players have also played in big matches. Marcelo Brozovic has played in a World Cup final while new signing Christian Eriksen has played in a Champions League final. These type of characters should play a huge part if they are to win.
For Fiorentina, they have an experienced coach in Iachini. However, most of his career has been spent in Serie B although he did help teams like Brescia, Sampdoria and Chievo Verona earn promotion to the top flight. Still, he hasn’t shown he’s an elite manager that can manage top teams. Moreover, his Fiorentina side are quite young with an average age of 25. His two forwards, Federico Chiesa and Patrick Cutrone are only 22 years old. Can they carry Fiorentina’s attacking load against an experienced Inter backline?
Inter's solid home form v Fiorentina's good record against bigger teams
Inter have lost a total of four games this season. Two of those games have been at home against Juventus in the league and Barcelona in the Champions League. Aside from those two, Conte’s team have been excellent at home. This will be a huge test against Fiorentina considering they’ve drawn two of their last three home games. Can they turn up on this big occasion in front of their own crowd?
Meanwhile, the visitors have built a reputation for stopping top Italian teams, meaning the hosts will have a job on their hands. They’ve beaten Atalanta and Napoli and held title contenders Juventus and Inter this season alone. Furthermore, in the last ten meetings between these two, they have won four compared to Inter’s three. Iachini is also known to set up his team defensively. Can they upset Inter?