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Napoli v. Roma: Once More, On To The Breach

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Napoli must outperform Italy's second place side to advance to the Coppa Italia final. Can they do it?

Paolo Bruno

Napoli have a very large task ahead of them tomorrow. They need to overturn a 3-2 scoreline from the first leg in order to advance to face the winner of the Fiorentina-Udinese tie, and while it seems a simple thing, it won't be easy to execute.

Napoli v. Roma:Coppa Italia Semi-Finals2/12/14 8:45 PM CET, 2:45 PM EST Stadio San PaoloNaples, Italy
Waxing Moon

Roma have been one of the surprises of the Serie A campaign, after bringing in Rudi Garcia to manage and wisely reinvesting the funds they received from the sales of Erik Lamela and Marquinhos in the summer to leave the squad stronger than it had been before. They stand second in the table as a result, thanks in large part to a season-opening ten match winning streak. They didn't lose a match until facing Juventus in January, and that loss was repaid with a victory in the last round of the Coppa Italia.

Garcia's squad has been playing pleasing football this season, utilizing a strong and diverse midfield and a varied attack to dismantle their opponents. Outside of Mehdi Benatia, though, their defense is vulnerable. Still, with an attack comprising of an ageless Francesco Totti, a resurgent Gervinho, and a so-far reliable rotation of Adem Ljajic, Mattia Destro, and Alessandro Florenzi has led Roma to 45 goals on the season, behind only Juve and Napoli in the league. Napoli's defense will be hard-wrought to keep Roma from scoring, as the kind of quick ball movement they employ is something Napoli have struggled with all season.

One Thing To Do

For Napoli, the job is a very simple one: score at least two goals, and give up no more than one. A 1-0 or 2-1 scoreline would see Napoli through on away goals, though obviously a straight-up win by at least two goals would be preferable. Avoiding extra time would be nice, too.

Oh, and please wear the blue shirts again. Seeing the away kits at home the last couple of weeks has been bizarre.

Projected lineups

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Fernandes, Albiol, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Inler; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne; Higuain

Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Torosidis; Pjanic, De Rossi, Strootman; Gervinho, Totti, Ljajic

How They Got Here

Napoli: 3-1 v. Atalanta (1/15/14), 1-0 v. Lazio (1/29/14)

Roma: 1-0 v. UC Sampdoria (1/9/14), 1-0 Juventus (1/21/14)

Reverse fixture

A listless first half that saw Napoli go 2-0 down just after the 30th minute seemed to have doomed the partenopei, but a valiant effort in the second half saw them go level before Gervinho's late winner. Napoli didn't leave Rome in a stellar position for the return leg, but it could have been much, much worse. Read our full recap of the match here.

Watch it

The match will start Wednesday at 8:45 PM CET/2:45 PM EST. Television coverage will be on RAI Uno in Italy, Sky Sports 3 in the UK, and beIN Sports Play in America. Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter.