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Sampdoria ousts Inter

SAMPDORIA held off an Inter Milan fightback to reach the Italian Cup final despite losing the second leg 0-1.

Inter, stung by a 0-3 defeat in the first leg, gave itself hope when Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck midway through the first half on Thursday but Sampdoria held on to clinch a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in the final against Lazio.

"Today we tried and we deserved (to go through)," Inter coach Jose Mourinho said.

"One side played to win, the other played to lose by less than three goals.

"I'm extremely proud of my players. With a pinch of luck we'd have won 3-0."

The visitors from Genoa, cheered on by around 15,000 traveling fans, made a bright start as Inter struggled to adjust to a new formation with a three-man defense.

Mourinho's side frequently resorted to fouls to halt Sampdoria's advances early on but Ibrahimovic's right-footed strike ignited them.

Soon afterwards the Swede forced a desperate save from Luca Castellazzi with a header before hitting the post with a diagonal lob, while Julio Cruz nodded narrowly wide on the stroke of halftime.

Inter, which had Marco Materazzi sent off at the end of the match when he responded to being booked by applauding the referee, created plenty of other chances but ended up falling well short.

Lazio won 2-1 at Juventus on Wednesday to complete a 4-2 aggregate win and take its place in the May 13 final in Rome.

In Spain, a controversial goal from Cani gave Villarreal a 2-1 comeback win at home to Recreativo Huelva that took it up to fifth in the Primera Liga on Thursday.

The midfielder's lob was ruled to have crossed the line when it was cleared from under the bar by defender Nasief Morris in the 67th minute. Television replays were inconclusive.

Another superb lob by Villarreal's Joseba Llorente towards the end of the opening half had canceled out Javier Camunas's first minute opener for the visitors.

Villarreal moved on to 52 points, three behind fourth-placed Valencia.


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