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Roman rivals lead cup charge

Published: Wednesday 5 February 2003, 11.14CET
AS Roma and S.S. Lazio go head to head in the Coppa Italia semi-finals tonight.

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Published: Wednesday 5 February 2003, 11.14CET

Roman rivals lead cup charge

AS Roma and S.S. Lazio go head to head in the Coppa Italia semi-finals tonight.

AS Roma and S.S. Lazio go head-to-head tonight in the first of three Rome derbies in the next five weeks.

Emotionally charged
The Rome derby may be the most charged of the evening's fixtures, but with competitions also reaching boiling point in England, Germany, Spain and Belgium, other clubs are also battling for cup survival tonight.

Cup priorities
The first leg of the semi-final of the Coppa Italia may be vital for Roma coach Fabio Capello. His side are just ninth in Serie A, a full 16 points off the summit, and have lost both of their first two games in the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Suddenly, the cup looks like Capello's most realistic chance of glory this season.

Marazzina prospects
Italian international forward Massimo Marazzina, who joined Roma last week from AC Chievo Verona, could make his debut tonight. "I will try to bring my enthusiasm in the team," he said. "Capello knows that I'm ready to play." That Lazio, fourth in the table, stand between Roma and a place in the final has only raised the temperature on the tie.

'We will give everything'
With ten goals already this season, Lazio's Argentinian striker Claudio López has been in fine form and has additional motivation to perform tonight. "I haven't scored in the derby yet," he said. "We don't care if it's just a Coppa Italia match. It's a derby and we will give everything to win it." The winners of the tie will face AC Milan or Perugia Calcio in the final in May

Mallorca eye another scalp
Meanwhile in Spain, RC Deportivo La Coruña and RCD Mallorca also have an eye on the Spanish Cup final as they play the first leg of their semi-final tie at the Riazor stadium. Mallorca will be looking to add the cup holders' scalp to that of Real Madrid CF, who they beat in the quarter-finals.

German situation
In Germany, the semi-finals are still a game away, but three one-off quarter-finals tonight could mean a lot for the clubs involved. 1. FC Kaiserslautern travel to VfL Bochum 1848, while TSV 1860 München play host to SV Werder Bremen, but the toughest task of the evening may be Bayer 04 Leverkusen's.

Leverkusen worries
Struggling in the 1. Bundesliga and the second group stage of the Champions League, Klaus Toppmöller's side travel to third division SpVgg Unterhaching hoping to avoid disaster and finally shake off the 'Neverkusen' tag handed to them after they lost the 1. Bundesliga title, the German Cup and the Champions League at the final hurdle last season.

Premiership challenge
First division opposition awaits English Premiership sides Southampton FC and Liverpool FC as they contest replays in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Southampton travel to Millwall FC while Liverpool play Crystal Palace FC. The final tie of the evening is an all-Premiership affair as Sunderland AFC face Blackburn Rovers FC.

Brugge battle
Finally, the Belgian First Division title may look like a foregone conclusion for Club Brugge KV, but they have the chance to stay on course for the double if they can negotiate their way through the second leg of their quarter-final tie against KFC Lommelse SK. They hold a 3-2 lead from the first leg.

Belgian destiny
Elsewehere, RAA Louviéroise need to claw back a 3-1 deficit in their home tie against R. Standard de Liège, KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen are 2-1 down as they play host to R. Antwerp FC while RSC Anderlecht's season could take another turn for the worse if they fail to hold on to their 1-0 lead at K. Sint-Truidense VV.

Last updated: 10/12/17 6.58CET

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