Rome: Inter Milan stayed on course for the only title it can still likely win this season by beating Roma 1-0 in the opening leg of the Italian Cup semifinals on Tuesday.
Dejan Stankovic scored in the 45th minute at the mostly empty Stadio Olimpico, finding the target with a spectacular shot from beyond the area that went in just under the crossbar.
Inter won a treble last season but was eliminated from the Champions League by Schalke last week and trails AC Milan by eight points with five rounds remaining in Serie A.
"This was a big victory in a tough stadium. We were coming off a tough period, so let`s hope we can continue like this," said Inter captain Javier Zanetti.
Roma forward Mirko Vucinic extended his stretch of poor form by missing an easy chance nine minutes in, failing to redirect a cross inside the box.
Still frustrated, Vucinic elbowed Inter defender Lucio in the chest early in the second half. He was not sanctioned by the referee but could face disciplinary action from the league judge with the help of TV replays.
Both sides were missing key players. Inter was without striker Samuel Eto`o due to an ankle injury, while Roma captain Francesco Totti served the third game in his four-match ban for kicking Mario Balotelli in the back of the thigh during last season`s final.
AC Milan hosts Palermo in the other semifinal on Wednesday.