Inter Milan eased into the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup, although none of its fans were present at San Siro to see the Nerazzurri crush second-division Benevento 6-2. Inter was forced to play the match behind closed doors as part of its punishment for racist chanting in the Dec. 26 league match against Napoli.
“It’s not a match, it’s not football, it’s not entertainment,” Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said. “So many fans have been punished, we don’t want to play in this way … we need to find different solutions. If you’re talking of a (football) spectacle or a show, it’s because there are the fans who come to the stadium and enjoy themselves.”
Inter will face Lazio in the next round. Inter would have been wary of facing lower-league opposition after almost being embarrassed by Pordenone at the same stage last season before struggling past the third-division side on penalties. Perhaps because of that, the Nerazzurri started strongly and were 2-0 up inside seven minutes. Mauro Icardi converted a penalty and then saw a header hit the post, with Antonio Candreva netting the rebound.
Dalbert extended Inter’s lead in first-half stoppage time with a fierce shot into the roof of the net and Lautaro Martinez headed in a fourth shortly after the break. Martinez doubled his tally in the 68th, either side of goals from Benevento through Roberto Insigne, the brother of Napoli and Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne and Filippo Bandinelli. Candreva also scored a second, in stoppage time, to add to Benevento’s humiliation.
Injury-hit Napoli beat Sassuolo 2-0 to book a quarterfinal match against AC Milan. Napoli was without Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik and Raul Albiol, who were all injured, as well as the suspended Simone Verdi.
Arkadiusz Milik partnered Lorenzo Insigne up front and the two combined for the opening goal in the 15th minute as Milik forced the ball in from close range following a precise cross from Insigne.
Sassuolo, which was also without several players through injury, thought it had leveled in the 35th but Manuel Locatelli’s goal was ruled out after video review showed he had handled the ball in the buildup. Milik set up Napoli’s second 16 minutes from time, pulling back a pass from Insigne for Fabian Ruiz to all but seal the result.
FIORENTINA LEAVES IT LATE
Federico Chiesa scored two late goals to send Fiorentina through to the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup. Fiorentina won 2-0 at Torino on Sunday to book a spot in the next round, where it will face either Roma or third-division Virtus Entella.
In Turin, Fiorentina had the better of the chances but was denied several times by home goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. It finally broke through three minutes from time. Giovanni Simeone surged forward from the center circle and shrugged off two challenges only to have his effort parried by Sirigu but Chiesa tapped in the rebound.
Chiesa doubled his tally in stoppage time after taking advantage of an error by Torino defender Lyanco. The goal was given after video review.