A place in the Coppa Italia semi-finals is on the line as Inter Milan and Atalanta go head-to-head in Tuesday’s mouth-watering quarter-final tie at Giuseppe Meazza.
Simone Inzaghi’s side pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 extra-time win over second-tier Parma in the previous Coppa Italia round to reach the competition’s quarter-finals for the ninth season in a row.
The Nerazzurri won the competition last year, beating Juventus 2-1 in the final, and are looking to defend the title for the first time in over a decade.
Confidence should not be in short supply in the home camp as Inter fought back from an early deficit against Serie A basement boys Cremonese on Saturday to claim an all-important 2-1 victory.
Speaking of a buoyant mood, visiting Atalanta scored on either side of half-time to overcome relegation-battling Sampdoria 2-0 at the weekend, extending their near-perfect start to the new calendar year (W4, D2).
La Dea’s most recent domestic travel was an utter blockbuster as they shared the spoils with Juventus in an enthralling 3-3 draw at the Allianz Stadium after breaking the deadlock within four minutes.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have rediscovered their scoring touch in 2023, netting at least two goals in all six competitive outings at an average of 3.66 per game.
Inter will be out to make amends for a shock 1-0 loss to perennial bottom-half Serie A strugglers Empoli in their last home match, which knocked them down from a nine-game winning home run.
High-flying Atalanta may not be opposition to spring to mind first regarding their hopes to return to winning ways, but they must be safe in the knowledge they’ve not lost any of their last eight home H2Hs (W5, D3).
Given the visitors’ free-scoring form, you’d be forgiven for expecting a high-scoring contest, yet three of Inter’s last four competitive fixtures at Meazza have yielded an identical 1-0 scoreline (W2, L1).
Atalanta hammered Spezia 5-2 in the last Coppa Italia round to advance into the competition’s quarter-finals for the second season running, but they’ve not entered the semi-finals since 2017/18.
That’ll stay that way unless La Dea take Inter down at Meazza for the first time since 2014, which seems to be a longshot, given they’ve not won any of their last eight encounters, home and away (D5, L3).
It’s also worth noting that Gasperini’s men have claimed just one win on their last four domestic road trips (D2, L1), all of which featured over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring.
Inter cannot call upon the services of Samir Handanovic and Marcelo Brozovic, but Romelu Lukaku could return to the starting line-up after having a cameo appearance at Cremonese last weekend.
Jose Luis Palomino and Davide Zappacosta will not be taking this trip due to injury, yet Atalanta will have the remainder of the squad fit to travel.
Inter Milan vs Atalanta Potential Line-ups
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Andre Onana; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez.
Atalanta (3-4-2-1): Juan Musso; Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti, Giorgio Scalvini; Hans Hateboer, Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, Joakim Maehle; Ademola Lookman, Jeremie Boga; Rasmus Hojlund.
Inter Milan vs Atalanta Prediction
Although this fixture has an extra-time and penalties written all over it, we’d give Atalanta a better chance to go into the semi-finals, maybe even within 90 minutes.
Inter Milan 1-2 Atalanta
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