In terms of derbies, it does not get much bigger than the Derby di Milano. And when a place in the 75th edition of the final of the Coppa Italia is at stake, it becomes huge.
AC Milan and city rivals Inter, who also sit first and second in Serie A, face each other in the first leg of the Coppa semi-finals in the San Siro on Tuesday.
Despite having won a combined 12 titles, their last triumph dates back more than 10 years, when Inter beat Palermo 3-1 to win the Coppa for the seventh time.
Milan, meanwhile, have been able to rely on the outstanding striking prowess of Oliver Giroud and Rafael Leão to advance to the semis. The duo have scored five goals between them in the two matches that I Rossoneri played in the competition thus far.
They have stepped up in the absence of veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is set to miss the semi-final matches with Achilles problems.
Despite winning six Serie A titles and three Supercoppas, the Swede is yet to win the Coppa Italia and being 40, it seems likely that he will not have that many more chances.
The two faced each other in the league earlier in the month, with Giroud scoring both goals for Milan in the 2-1 come-from-behind victory.
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi, meanwhile, won the Coppa three times as a player with Lazio and once in charge of the same club.
The 45-year-old strengthened his squad during the winter break by signing German international Robin Gosens from Atalanta, but the midfielder is still harbouring an injury, which leaves his availability for Wednesday’s game in doubt.
Juventus, who have more Coppa victories than any other club – 14 – embark on their mission for back-to-back titles on Wednesday with a trip to Fiorentina.
The Florence-based club have had their own success in the competition, winning six Coppas, but go into the game against the Bianconeri as underdogs.
Having slipped behind their Milanese rivals in the league, the Coppa could well spell the best chance Juventus have to win silverware this season and coach Massimiliano Allegri is aware of the opportunity.
“We play to win the cup, Obviously it all depends on how things go,” Allegri told Italian media.
Both matches will be shown live and exclusively on the Star Times channels as the continent’s leading digital-TV operator shows all the best action from Coppa Italia, explained Marketing Director, Isma Lule.