MILAN (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain pounced on an Inter Milan defensive error to hit an injury-time winner for Napoli in a 1-0 win that sent the holders into the Italian Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini, who spent four success-laden seasons at the helm of the Nerazzurri from 2004-2008, had led Inter into four Cup finals, winning twice, in his previous spell in charge.
The match looked to be heading for extra-time but in the 93rd minute Algerian international Faouzi Gholam, in his first game for Napoli since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, found Higuain in space down the left with a long throw-in.
It caught defender Andrea Ranocchia off guard and the Inter Milan captain could only look on as Higuain outpaced him before beating Juan Pablo Carrizo with a superbly-placed shot inside the ‘keeper’s far post.
Napoli will now meet Lazio in a semi-final over two legs with the winner meeting either Juventus or Fiorentina in the June 7 final.
Mancini refused to blame Ranocchia but hit out at his players, who have dropped to 13th in Serie A following a disastrous run of results.
“There was only 30 seconds remaining… how can we possibly concede like that?” groaned the Italian on Rai Sport.
“It was a great game but we need to score and not concede. Instead, every Sunday we’re gifting other teams goals.”