By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Michael Bradley and AS Roma have punched their ticket to the Italian Cup final after orchestrating a strong second-half comeback to win 3-2 at Inter Milan.
After the hosts tied the semifinal series at 2-2 with a goal from defender Jonathan, Inter youth product Mattia Destro scored two goals to swing the momentum back into Roma’s favor. Destro, who also scored during Roma’s 2-1 win in the first leg, left Inter as part of a deal for Andrea Ranocchia.
Vasilis Torosidis secured Roma’s spot in the final with a stunning volley from deep in the 74th minute. Ricardo Alvarez pulled one back for Inter with ten minutes left in the match, but the Milan club was held off in the late stages to secure their fourth loss in five matches.
Roma will face bitter rival Lazio in the Italian Cup final next month at the capital clubs’ shared home of Stadio Olimpico. Roma last won the Cup in 2008.
Here are some more stories to wrap up your Wednesday:
LUIZ, TERRY LEAD CHELSEA BACK INTO THIRD WITH WIN AT FULHAM
While midfielders Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard have led the Chelsea offense this season, the trio took a back seat Wednesday to a three-goal outburst from two teammates that patrol the back line.
Center backs David Luiz and John Terry handled the scoring for the Blues in their 3-0 win at West London neighbor Fulham. Terry followed up Luiz’s stunning 35-yard strike with two goals of his own, moving Chelsea past Arsenal and back into third place in the Premier League table.
After both sides failed to score from close range in the first half hour, Luiz took advantage of a lack of pressure from Fulham and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Mark Schwarzer’s net.
Schwarzer got his hands on the next long distance effort from the Blues, a difficult Lampard free kick, but the resulting corner led to Terry’s first goal. A cross from Juan Mata found the head of the Chelsea captain to double the visitors’ lead just before halftime. Terry grabbed his second goal from a corner midway through the second half by nodding in a powerful header from Fernando Torres.
UNITED ESCAPE WITH DRAW AT WEST HAM, CITY BEAT WIGAN LATE
Although they had hopes of cutting their magic points total down to four before the match, Manchester United were fortunate to escape with a controversial 2-2 draw with West Ham on Wednesday.
Robin van Persie appeared to be offside on a 77th-minute equalizer that gave the first-place Red Devils a point at Upton Park. The Dutch striker, who ended his scoring drought last weekend at Stoke City, scored off of a rebound from a Shinji Kagawa effort that drilled the post.
The van Persie equalizer erased a West Ham lead earned by a fantastic curling strike from midfielder Mohamed Diame. The Hammers also had an early lead after a diving Ricardo Vaz Te scored on a headed pass from Andy Carroll, but United winger Antonio Valencia brought the match level just after the half-hour mark with his first goal of the season.
West Ham substitute Matthew Taylor had a great chance to give the home team the lead again in the dying moments of the match, but his wide-open shot was severely off-target.
Manchester City were able to cut into United’s lead with a 1-0 home win over Wigan Athletic. Carlos Tevez’s 83rd-minute goal gave the defending champions the win in a preview of next month’s FA Cup Final.
The visitors seemed close to getting a valuable point in their campaign to avoid the drop before Tevez’s powerful winner, his eighth goal in nine matches. Wigan had an even share of possession and put more shots on frame than City on Wednesday, but the 18th-place Latics failed to beat returning goalkeeper Joe Hart.
What do you think of these results? Think Roma will grab their 10th Italian Cup next month against Lazio? See Chelsea holding onto third place? What are your thoughts on United’s controversial draw at West Ham?
Share your comments below.