Inter face huge task in Cup final second leg
MILAN, May 15 (Reuters) - Inter Milan will be without suspended duo Marco Materazzi and Olivier Dacourt when they attempt to reverse a 6-2 scoreline in Thursday's Italian Cup final second leg with AS Roma.
Last week's first-leg humbling in Rome took some of the shine off a fine season for Inter, who ran away with Serie A and broke records galore.
Their chances of a second successive league and cup double and third cup triumph in a row, all against Roma, look remote although striker Julio Cruz is now back in full training after injury.
The champions will also have been buoyed by Sunday's 4-3 home win over Rome's other team, Lazio. Inter were 2-0 down inside five minutes but a hat-trick from Hernan Crespo and Materazzi's late header helped them roar back to victory.
Materazzi said he was extremely disappointed to be missing the second leg but hoped his team mates could put in the same kind of performance as Sunday.
'It has been my greatest regret right since the 90th minute of the first leg,' Materazzi told the Inter Channel.
'We can't deny that we have come unstuck a bit, maybe unconsciously. No one likes to put on a poor show. Now we hope we have regained everything we will need against Roma on Thursday.'
Roma, already assured of second place in the league and a Champions League spot next season, lost 1-0 at home to Torino on Sunday after coach Luciano Spalletti rested some players before the second leg.
However, he still included Francesco Totti despite the Roma talisman having been up half the night because of the birth of his second child.
Totti will have to regain his concentration for Thursday but it is Roma's defenders who will probably be under the most pressure at the San Siro as Inter chase a hatful of goals.
Like the first leg, Thursday's match will be played in the early evening because of worries over crowd trouble.
The earlier kickoff paid off last week when there was no violence and television viewing figures were impressive.