Napoli beat Inter Milan to close in on Italian Cup final

Fabian Ruiz (L) scored to give Napoli a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the San Siro. — AFP

MILAN — Fabian Ruiz scored the only goal as Napoli shocked Inter Milan 1-0 in their Italian Cup semifinal, first leg tie in the San Siro on Wednesday.

The Spanish midfielder broke through after 57 minutes to get Gennaro Gattuso's side back to winning ways after their 3-2 league defeat at home to lowly Lecce last weekend.

Ruiz picked up a Giovanni Di Lorenzo cross, beating three Inter defenders to curl in past a helpless Daniele Padelli.

"This is the real Napoli. Big compliments to my lads," said Gattuso, whose side are 11th in the Serie A table.

But he warned: "There's no reason to smile, we still haven't achieved anything yet."

Antonio Conte's side looked sluggish days after their thrilling 4-2 derby win over AC Milan which put them top of the Serie A table.

Both sides had their chances in the first half with Lautaro Martínez nodding wide with Padelli denying Piotr Zielinski just before the break in front of a crowd of nearly 60,000 in northern Italy.

Conte sent on Cristian Eriksen after 65 minutes and the Dane threatened but David Ospina held firm in the Napoli goal.

Napoli, who last won the trophy in 2014, now take a slim advantage into the second leg at their Stadio San Paolo on March 5.

"The derby certainly took away a lot of energy," said Conte. "But we're talking about Napoli, who beat Lazio, Juventus, Liverpool.

"It's a team of substance despite its position in the standings."

Record 18-time winners Juventus take on AC Milan in the other semifinal on Thursday, again in the San Siro.

The match will be the first clash in Italy between Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo and Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The final will take place in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on May 13.

Juventus extend Allianz

Stadium naming rights until 2030


Juventus announced on Wednesday the extension of the naming rights for their Turin stadium with German insurance group Allianz until June 2030.

The current contract was signed in 2017 and runs until July 2023.

Juve did not receive any money on that contract, the club having ceded the naming rights for its stadium to the Sportfive agency in 2008, which has since become part of the Lagardere Sports and Entertainment group.

That agreement was worth 75 million euros ($81.5 million) over 12 years from the inauguration of the 41,000-seater stadium in 2011.

The 35-time Serie A champions said in a statement on Wednesday the new contract was worth "103.1 million euros ($112.14 million) to be added on top of the existing agreements".

As well as the naming of the stadium the new deal also includes sponsorship on the men's training kit, and some sponsorship rights related to the women's team.

The firm also has its name on sporting venues in cities such as in Munich, Minnesota and Sao Paulo. — AFP