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Inter reach quarters with Livorno win

Article Published: Thursday 17 December 2009

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Inter Milan eased into the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a controlled and disciplined 1-0 win against Livorno at the San Siro on Wednesday.

Wesley Sneijder's free-kick on the hour mark settled the affair in front of hoards of empty seats.

The hosts deserved their victory having dominated throughout and twice hit the woodwork in the first period.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho resisted the temptation to make too many changes for a match his side were always likely to win, although he did hand a debut to right-back Giulio Danilo from the club's youth team.

A subdued Mourinho, who has been under fire these last few days in the Italian press after insulting a journalist, said his team were worthy of the result.

"I think we deserved to win. We played a serious match, we were compact, had no problems and defensively we were in control," he said.

"We had some early chances and then after the break we had more chances to make this match a little calmer."

With captain Javier Zanetti, Ivan Cordoba and Marco Materazzi injured and Walter Samuel injured, Inter were left a little short at the back and Mourinho selected Muntari Sulley in an unfamiliar left-back role.

There were also rare starts for Patrick Vieira, David Suazo and goalkeeper Francesco Toldo as the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso were rested.

Dejan Stankovic came closest to opening the scoring as he struck a shot from 20 yards against the upright.

Sneijder was then denied from a free-kick by Livorno goalkeeper Francesco Benussi, who tipped the ball onto the post.

But on the hour the Dutch international scored the only goal of the game as Benussi turned from hero to villain, stepping the wrong way as Sneijder took another shot from a dead ball and leaving himself rooted to the spot as the ball sailed into the top corner of his net.

Suazo then wasted a couple of chances to stake a claim on a regular first team spot before he was replaced by Milito, who proved equally profligate.

The remaining last 16 ties will all be played in mid January.

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