Udinese knocked Inter out of the Coppa Italia 1-0 and will face Milan or Spezia in the Quarter-Finals.
Both sides were lacking in confidence after Serie A defeats, but Diego Milito was given his first start since suffering knee ligament damage in January 2013. Walter Samuel and Gaby Mudingayi also made comebacks, while Mateo Kovacic took a more advanced role. Udinese were without Luis Muriel and rested Antonio Di Natale, who announced this week he’ll retire at the end of the season.
The hosts had the more aggressive start, as Nico Lopez just failed to get on the end of a dangerous Emmanuel Badu cross. Maicosuel’s solo effort then flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to get the final tap-in. Maicosuel curled a free kick to the back post, where Widmer at full stretch couldn’t quite get there.
Udinese were clearly having the better of the play and took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark. Nico Lopez got down the right and rolled across for Maicosuel to tap into an empty net from a yard.
Inter very nearly equalised four minutes later, as Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s cross looped over Ivan Kelava to smack against the underside of the bar. From a corner, Milito had a strong penalty shout for Maurizio Domizzi’s shirt-tug.
Widmer turned wide from a fine Maicosuel assist and Juan Pablo Carrizo smothered Nico Lopez’s free kick.
Walter Mazzarri threw on Rodrigo Palacio for midfielder Mudingayi at half-time and Inter were more lively, though Kuzmanovic’s long-range effort failed to trouble Kelava. The Nerazzurri ran a huge risk on the counter-attack when Carrizo charged out to midfield and sent Maicosuel wide, but Giampiero Pinzi volleyed over the open goal.
Inter had more penalty appeals for a Widmer handling offence, then Kelava almost walked the ball over the line when plucking a Kovacic cross out of the air.
Kovacic wasted a good opportunity when blasting from distance rather than trying to set up a teammate, but Nico Lopez went closer with an angled drive that forced Carrizo into a one-handed save.
Fredy Guarin’s free kick was deflected wide off one of his teammates and Badu’s strike whistled just past the base of the far post. Great work from Milito set up Ricky Alvarez, who ballooned over the bar from a promising position.
In a surprise final substitution, Mazzarri gave Ruben Botta his debut. He only registered for the club two days ago and hadn’t played since April due to a knee injury.
It was wide open and Widmer hit the side-netting on the counter-attack before Maicosuel tested Carrizo, then Guarin couldn’t turn in a Milito assist and Yuto Nagatomo curled over the far top corner. In stoppages Roberto Pereyra wasted a counter-attack by allowing his shot to be charged down in the box and Badu blasted wide when it was four against three.
This is Inter’s earliest Coppa Italia exit since 2002 and a particular blow considering it was their only real shot at silverware this season, as they are not in Europe.
Udinese 1-0 Inter
Scorers: Maicosuel 32 (U)
Udinese: Kelava; Danilo, Domizzi, Heurtaux; Gabriel Silva, Widmer, Badu, Allan, Pinzi; Maicosuel (Fernandes 89); Nico Lopez (Pereyra 76)
Inter: Carrizo; Campagnaro, Samuel, Andreolli; Zanetti (Alvarez 60), Guarin, Mudingayi (Palacio 46), Kuzmanovic, Nagatomo; Kovacic (Botta 81); Milito
Check out OLBG.com's list of ££ Free Bets from UK bookmakers before placing your bets!