Inter have taken the advantage in their Coppa Italia semi final against Roma, with a Dejan Stankovic strike giving them a 1-0 win away from home at the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg.
The competition holds added importance for both teams, as realistically neither will catch league leaders AC Milan and both have been eliminated from the Champions League.
Inter’s under fire coach Leonardo will welcome the win, which should lift some of the pressure from the Brazilian and give the Milanese club’s fans something to shout about.
The game started well and it was the away side that started the better, with Serbian Stankovic taking advantage of a defensive miscommunication between keeper Doni and Juan and getting the ball into the Roma net, but the strike was disallowed as the Inter midfielder was adjudged to have committed a foul.
Roma attacked also and Montenegro international Mirko Vucinic had the best chances of the game for the home side in the first half, firstly missing the target from a couple of yards after good work from Marco Boriello and then blazing over on 14 minutes.
The game looked to be going into the break goalless but a stunning strike from Stankovic on the stroke of half time gave the Nerazzurri the lead. The midfielder latched onto an Esteban Cambiasso pass and struck a fierce effort from 25 yards, that Doni could not keep out and Inter went into half time 1-0 up.
Roma looked to apply more pressure and find an equaliser in the second period but despite have a good amount of possession and free kicks in dangerous areas, I Giallorossi could not find the back of the net. Inter also had chances to increase their lead, with influential Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder pulling the strings, but neither he nor Giampaolo Pazzini could beat Doni in the Roma goal and the match ended 1-0.
The return fixture at the San Siro is scheduled for May 11 and the eventual winner will go on to face either AC Milan or Palermo in the final.