Coppa Italia Preview: Napoli v Roma
By Football News
Napoli and Roma will clash at the San Paolo on Wednesday with a place in the Coppa Italia final very much up for grabs.
Roma won the first leg of the semi-final 3-2 last week courtesy of a late Gervinho strike, but the two away goals scored by Rafael Benitez's men could prove to be crucial.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia and Benitez are striving to win a trophy in their first season at their respective clubs.
Napoli are hoping to regain the trophy they won in 2012, while Roma are eager to avenge last season's final defeat to capital rivals Lazio.
Lazio ended Roma's run of six consecutive wins by holding their Eternal City rivals to a goalless draw at the Stadio Olimpico in Serie A on Sunday and Garcia's side face a stern test when they attempt to overcome Napoli in their own back yard.
Benitez has seen his side fail to score just once in 17 matches on home soil this term, with Parma the only side to have come away from San Paolo with a clean sheet in November's 1-0 triumph.
Napoli's fine home form continued on Saturday as Gonzalo Higuain's double and a Gokhan Inler strike consigned Clarence Seedorf to his first league defeat since becoming Milan coach.
That 3-1 win, coupled with Roma's derby stalemate, helped Napoli close the gap on the men from the capital to four points in Serie A, and the Naples outfit will be looking to strike a psychological blow on Wednesday, as well as secure their place in the final.
Roma's form on the road has shown a shaky side recently. They have won just one of their last six league games away from home - including Sunday's game which was their 'away' derby - though four of those have been drawn.
Garcia is concerned by his side's recent struggles in front of goal though, and believes a greater composure will help them fire again.
After Sunday's draw with Lazio, the Frenchman said: "In fitness terms I thought the team was in good shape and played with energy.
"We didn't make very good choices in front of goal, as when it came time to pass it they shot and vice versa."
Garcia will have potent attackers - including Gervinho, Francesco Totti and Adem Ljajic - available for the clash, but is still without defensive duo Dodo (thigh) and Federico Balzaretti (groin).
With Benitez needing goals from his side, the Spaniard will have been happy to see his side emerge from the weekend unscathed. Valon Behrami may be in line for a start after making his comeback from a foot injury with a cameo appearance against Milan.