Florence: Inter Milan advanced to the Italian Cup final with a 1-0 win over Fiorentina, keeping alive its hopes of becoming the first Italian club to pull off a treble.
Samuel Eto`o scored the winner in the 57th minute, slipping all alone behind Fiorentina`s immobile defense, collecting a pass from Thiago Motta and easily beating goalkeeper Sebastien Frey yesterday.
"We did what we had to do," Inter assistant coach Daniele Bernazzani said, with head coach Jose Mourinho keeping with his custom of avoiding the media.
Trailing AS Roma by one point in the Serie A and having also reached the Champions League semifinals, Inter was aiming to become the first Italian club to win all three titles in the same season.
"Everything is on the line this month," Bernazzani said.
Inter advanced 2-0 on aggregate, having won the opening leg 1-0 in early February with a goal from Diego Milito.
In the May 5 final, Inter will face either AS Roma or Udinese, who complete their semifinal next week, with Roma having won the opening leg 2-0.
Inter and Fiorentina also met three days ago in Serie A, playing to a 2-2 draw which cost Inter the Serie A lead.
Languishing in ninth place in Serie A, Fiorentina was hoping for an Italian Cup victory to secure a place in next season`s Europa League.
Fiorentina controlled most of the first half, with Alberto Gilardino, Stevan Jovetic and Riccardo Montolivo failing to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Gilardino put a shot through the legs of Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the 25th but Lucio cleared the ball off the goal line.
"We allowed a goal and then we lost our confidence," Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said.
Inter had a series of chances early on, but Mario Balotelli and Eto`o couldn`t find the target. Most notably, Balotelli missed a sharply angled attempt in the 21st after evading Fiorentina`s defense.
Mourinho rested usual starters Wesley Sneijder and Walter Samuel.