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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Holders Roma face battle to maintain cup interest

MILAN, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Holders AS Roma will go out of the Italian Cup unless they can overcome a 3-1 first leg deficit in Wednesday's last 16 second leg at home to Torino.

Roma paid the price for selecting a slightly weakened side at Torino in December but seem likely to play a stronger team this time despite the Cup being their third priority behind Serie A and the Champions League.

AC Milan lost 2-1 at home to Catania in their first leg but will be bouyed ahead of Wednesday's return in Sicily after beating Napoli 5-2 on Sunday to record their first win over Italian opposition at San Siro this season.

Brazilian teenager Pato scored on his Milan debut while Ronaldo notched his first two goals of the campaign.

Juventus must also reverse a first leg defeat after going down 2-1 at Empoli in December.

The second leg in Turin takes place on Tuesday with Claudio Ranieri's side more motivated in the Cup given their lack of Champions League action this term.

Inter Milan are the only one of the big four who look certain of reaching the quarter-finals after beating Reggina 4-1 away in the first leg. Roberto Mancini can afford to rotate his injury-hit squad in Thursday's home second leg.

In the other matches, Fiorentina host Serie B Ascoli on Wednesday with the tie poised at 1-1 while Serie A's bottom side Cagliari visit Sampdoria with a 1-0 goal advantage from the first leg.

Struggling Lazio travel to Napoli on Thursday having won 2-1 in December and Palermo welcome Udinese after a goalless first leg.