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Coppa Italia Semifinal • Lazio-Milan Preview: To the Death

In ancient Rome, death, sport, and entertainment were all intertwined. And on Wednesday, that tradition returns… kind of. While it is sincerely hoped that there is no actual death, this match will determine the Coppa Italia death for one of the teams. With both Milan and Lazio finding great form lately, the sport and entertainment factors are likely to be at maximum levels. Unlike the frustrating 0-0 draw in the first leg, this match should rival the ancient Roman events like chariot races and gladiator battles.

Of gladiators and warriors

Milan emerged triumphant from their first Roman challenge this week. They devoured the Wolves, and now face the Eagles of Lazio. L’Aquile crushed Sassuolo on Sunday, having destroyed Steua Bucharest 5-1 on Thursday in the Europa League. Prior to that, they stuttered a bit, but still sit in third place in Serie A with 52 points. Certainly they would relish the opportunity to dispatch Milan and set up a rematch of last year’s Coppa Italia final with Juventus, should they finish off Atalanta at Juve Stadium.

The sting of Cutrone’s handball in our league match with Lazio has got to still burn a little, especially with The Other Inzaghi. That is simply more fuel to take us out. Inzaghi seems to have nearly a full squad available for this match. On Sunday, in their 3-0 win over Sassuolo, he lined up: Strakosha; Luiz Felipe, Radu, Wallace, Milinkovic-Savic, Murgia, Lucas, Lukaku, Marusic, Immobile, and Felipe Anderson. He rested De Vrij, Luis Alberto, Parolo, and Lulic entirely or mostly on Sunday, leaving him with plenty of options and fresh legs after their Europa League and Serie A battles.

Milinkovic-Savic has been unstoppable lately

Gattuso may be frozen in a snow drift somewhere in Rome, he was so frustrated about having to train indoors because of the rare snow in the capital city, that he reportedly went out on Monday looking for a place outdoors for the team to train. But if he is not frozen, and if he has gotten over the weather inconveniences, he has the entire team in Rome with him. Old man Storari, Antonelli, and Conti are injured but there for moral support. Other than those three, though, he has the entire squad to choose from for this match. After a tough victory on Sunday, and thinking of the upcoming and tantalizing Derby della Madonnina at the back of his mind, his choices may be tough to make.

Everything is on the line for this potentially epic battle. While Lazio are playing at home in the Olimpico, Milan have the potential to score the deadly away goal, meaning we would win at 90 minutes if it was a 1-1 draw. Two teams in great form, both with something to prove, and both sides thirsty for a chance to reach the Coppa Italia final. Maybe it’s “just” the Coppa Italia, but this match will be played to the death.


This post inspired by the music of John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates”


Coppa Italia Semifinal 2nd Leg
Lazio vs. Milan
Wednesday, February 28 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match will be shown on GolTV in the U.S.
  
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