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By ESPN Staff

Scandal overshadowing Coppa Italia build-up

With so many distractions in Italian football at present, the first piece of silverware of the domestic season may go largely unnoticed on Thursday evening.

Internazionale face Roma with the Coppa Italia final finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

But the latest scandal, allegations surrounding tapped telephone conversations involving Juventus executives discussing refereeing appointments, means the match is more of an interruption as Italian football works through yet another crisis.

Not that both of the clubs taking part don't have their own reasons to wish the cup final simply was not taking place this week.

Roma travel to the San Siro again on Sunday to face Inter's city rivals AC Milan in a match which they must win to stand any chance of playing Champions League football next season.

``In this final week, we have two games which will define our season,'' said Roma defender Christian Chivu.

Winning some silverware remains the priority however, since the cup game comes before the clash with Milan.

``It is an important objective and we all want to win it,'' he added.

``The tie is still very open and we will do our best until the very end as we are aware of the importance of this game.''

Inter lifted the trophy last season by beating the same opponents 3-0 on aggregate, but Chivu is convinced there will not be a repeat this year.

``Compared to last year, I think we have a better chance of winning the cup,'' said the Romanian.

``It's true we are the same bunch of players, but this year we have played a better second half of the season and we are more calm and relaxed.

``It is an important trophy and it goes down in history.''

``When you come into a new season, you always aim to win something or reach an important objective for the club and its fans; every player wants to lift the cup.''

Chivu is hopeful of taking his place in Luciano Spalletti's side, although a fever could rule Daniele De Rossi out.

De Rossi missed training on Tuesday and is unlikely to feature in the final, even if he trains on Wednesday.

Francesco Totti, meanwhile, worked in the gym as he also recovers from a fever, but should be available to make his return to the Roma team after a three-month absence.

Inter have already secured their place in the Champions League, but the final few months of the season have not panned out the way the Nerazzuri would have hoped.

Sunday's 1-1 draw with Siena was the latest in a line of poor results, which have increased speculation that coach Roberto Mancini will be leaving this summer - rumours that continue to be rubbished by the club.

``We are just thinking of the cup final,'' said Inter president Giacinto Facchetti after the Gazzetta dello Sport claimed meetings had already taken place with current Juve coach Fabio Capello to take over next season.

``Mancini still has a year left on his contract and we will continue moving forward with him.

``It has been almost two months now that the names of other coaches keep being mentioned, but at the moment, all I would like is to win the Coppa Italia.''

Mancini hopes to welcome back a quartet of players ahead of the second leg.

Juan Sebastien Veron is back in the frame after recovering from a muscle strain while Adriano, Nicolas Burdisso and Esteban Cambiasso all returned to training on Tuesday.

However, Cristiano Zanetti and Alvaro Recoba are both injury doubts and Ivan Cordoba is suspended.