Italian pride at stake

Italian football is bracing itself for another possible night of European misery.

Italian football is bracing itself for another possible night of European misery tonight when Milan AC and Internazionale FC seek to overcome first-leg deficits in their UEFA Cup semi-finals.

Inter hopeful
Inter have some hope as they are in Rotterdam to face Feyenoord trailing 1-0 from the first leg, but Milan will need a miracle against BV Borussia Dortmund after their 4-0 crushing in Germany last week.

Champions League failure
The pressure is on Inter to at least restore some kind of respectability to Serie A's reputation after the failure of any Italian team to reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League for the second successive year. The Dutch side, however, will be hoping to maintain their record of never having conceded a goal to an Italian side in their three games against such opposition at their Feijenoord stadium.

Chances remote
Milan's chances of progress look so remote that they could be forgiven for turning their attention to the upcoming Serie A meeting with Juventus FC on Dortmund, but defender José Chamot says the game is no mission impossible. "Just as they scored four goals, so can we," said the Argentinian international.

Sammer cautious
Dortmund coach Matthias Sammer has warned against over-confidence after the 4-0 first-leg win. "You can only see the result as a good foundation," he said. "I have myself experienced what can go wrong if two or three players fall below par. If the ship starts to go down there's no way of keeping it up."