Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 22 News List

AS Roma down AC Milan to reach Italian cup final

ROMANS MARCH ON Luciano Spalletti's side overcame the Rossoneri at the Stadio Olimpico with goals from Mancini, Perrotta and Pizarro


AS Roma advanced to their third successive Italian Cup final on Wednesday, beating AC Milan 3-1 in the second leg of the semi-finals.

Alessandro Mancini and Simone Perrotta both scored in the first 23 minutes and fellow midfielder David Pizarro added a tally just after halftime to send Roma through with 5-3 aggregate victory.

Alberto Gilardino scored for Milan.

"It was a really good performance because we were facing a big team and we played the game to perfection," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said.

Roma will meet either two-time defending champions Inter Milan or Sampdoria in the final.

Inter lead 3-0 entering the second leg of their semi-final yesterday.

"If we meet Inter in the final, bring it on," Spalletti said.

The finals are scheduled for April 18 and May 9.

Roma started quickly at Stadio Olimpico. Francesco Totti, equaling Giacomo Losi's record for the number of appearances for Roma with 451, set up Max Tonetto in the fourth minute, but the left back hit the side netting from close range.

Totti, who has only played for Roma as a professional, made his debut in March 1993.

Four minutes later, Mancini pounced on a poor backpass by veteran Milan defender Alessandro Costacurta to put Roma ahead from close range.

Gilardino, playing as a lone striker for the Rossoneri, equalized in the 17th with a fiercely struck shot, which wrongfooted Roma goalkeeper Gianluca Curci.

Perrotta re-established Roma's lead in the 23rd, tapping in a rebound after Totti beat Milan's offside trap but was thwarted by goalkeeper Dida.

Brazilians Kaka and Cafu had chances to equalize again for Milan, but were off-target.

Pizarro added Roma's insurance in the 46th with a swerving drive from 30m.

Roma should have had another, but Dida denied Totti on a 63rd-minute penalty -- his fifth penalty miss of the season.

Filippo Inzaghi almost got Milan back into the game in the 67th, seconds after coming on for Massimo Ambrosini, but the Italy striker couldn't reach Cafu's cross.

Roma defender Christian Panucci, who spent four seasons with Milan, also hit the crossbar in the 77th.

"We did well in the first half and were in the game," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "But after the break, Pizarro's goal closed the game and Roma played well."

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