Inter Milan’s recent run of poor form continued on Wednesday as an admittedly under-strength side were soundly beaten 3-0 by Sampdoria in their Italian Cup semi-final, first leg clash making it a long shot that the Serie A leaders reach their fifth successive Cup final.
Inter, who were second best in a Champions League last 16 first leg match with Manchester United last week and then were held 3-3 by AS Roma last weekend, went down to goals from badboy Antonio Cassano and a double by strike partner Giampaolo Pazzini.
Inter coach Jose Mourinho, with a mind towards this weekend’s tough Serie A match with fifth-placed Genoa and next week’s Champions League match at Old Trafford against United, had decided to rest players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Julio Cesar and Christian Chivu.
Their replacements could not handle it and a disastrous error by Colombian defender Nelson Rivas, who had a catastrophic first-half against United before being withdrawn by Mourinho at half-time, let in Cassano, who made no mistake and shot past Francesco Toldo in the ninth minute. Padalino then added a double through a header and then a shot three minutes from the break to wrap up victory for Sampdoria.
Inter’s night hardly got better after the break as talented young striker Mario Baslotelli had to go off injured in the 52nd minute having collided with a post. Inter could not even take advantage of Sampdoria being reduced to 10 men on the hour as defender Daniele Gastaldello was sent off.
Mourinho, who is subject of disciplinary proceedings after making inflammatory remarks following the draw with Roma, took defeat in his stride.
“We conceded a ludicrous first goal and a second off a rebound,” said the Portuguese. “When not everybody is there (as in first choice players), the team is obviously not of the same calibre. But I decided I had to make changes because it is not humanly possible for them to play every match.”
Lazio came from behind on Tuesday to beat Juventus 2-1 in their Italian Cup semi-final, first leg after second-half goals from Macedonian forward Goran Pandev and Tommaso Rocchi cancelled out Marco Marchionni’s opener on 34 minutes.