Gian Piero Gasperini is relishing the fact Atalanta have a packed schedule heading into the final months of the season as his side chase success in three competitions.

La Dea can reach the Coppa Italia final with victory over Fiorentina in the semi-finals, while Champions League qualification is within their capabilities as the top four in Serie A is only seven points away, and only Liverpool stand between them and making progress in the Europa League later this month.

First up is Wednesday’s away leg of a Coppa semi match-up which head coach Gasperini is “thrilled” to be involved in.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Going into the end of the season with three goals to chase is really exciting.

“I’m expecting a balanced match, we’ll need to be very focused and trust each other. It’s a thrill to be able to experience this time and I’m very happy to have such a united and high-quality team at my disposal.

“The Coppa Italia is our most realistic target because I never really thought we could compete for the Scudetto with teams that are now chasing about 90 or 100 points. The cup, however, is possible. It’s the fourth semi we’ve reached since I’ve been here.”

Unfortunately for Gasperini, he will observe the match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi from the stands as he serves a touchline ban.

He joked: “It’s a shame, but at least I’ll have a better view.”

Wednesday’s hosts Fiorentina are still in a period of mourning following the death of their general manager Joe Barone last month.

Boss Vincenzo Italiano, who is keen to dismiss speculation suggesting he will leave the Florence club at the end of the season, wants to “throw all the passion” expressed by supporters to the late Barone into their cup tie.

“The future of Fiorentina is far more important than any individual, whether it’s me or the players,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“We have to throw all the passion, love and determination that Barone showed us during these years and put those elements into our performances for the rest of the season.

“I am not trying to avoid answering (questions about his future), but I insist we must try to concentrate on these remaining 13 matches this season and keep everyone focused.

“This sort of talk does not help anyone, in my view, it can actually make us lose our concentration.”

AC Milan extended their winning run to six matches with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on an emotional night at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

There had been tributes before kick-off to Fiorentina general manager Joe Barone, who collapsed in the team hotel just as they were preparing to travel to the stadium for the match against Atalanta and later died in hospital.

The Rossoneri produced a clinical display with second-half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao either side of Alfred Duncan’s equaliser to consolidate second place in the Serie A table.

Following a minute’s silence, AC Milan, without the suspended Theo Hernandez, made a positive start as Olivier Giroud forced Fiorentina keeper Pietro Terracciano into an early save after a driving run from Samuel Chukwueze.

Fiorentina – returning to action for the first time since their Europa Conference League tie against Maccabi Haifa on March 14 – continued to be pressed into some deep defending, with Rossoneri winger Leao a constant threat down the left.

Leao floated a cross over to the back post, where Chukwueze’s downward header was palmed away by Terracciano.

La Viola finally created an opening in the 26th minute when Andrea Belotti was played into the Milan penalty area but Mike Maignan stood up to make a smart save.

After Leao’s angled effort was stopped by Terracciano at the near post, Fiorentina again broke quickly with Belotti flashing a ball across the Milan six-yard box.

Terracciano saved from Leao after the forward spun in the right side of the area before Giroud blazed over as Milan pressed for the breakthrough ahead of half-time.

Milan took the lead two minutes into the second half.

Chukwueze sent Leao clear down the right and his improved backheel went across the six-yard box. Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic slipped over, which allowed the ball to fall to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who dug it out from under his feet to stab home a 10th goal of the season.

Fiorentina, though, were soon back on level terms in the 50th minute when Duncan clipped a fine finish into the far corner from the edge of the Milan penalty area.

In a hectic spell, Milan regained the lead in the 53rd minute when Tijjani Reijnders’ through pass saw Leao race clear past Milenkovic before calmly taking the ball around the onrushing Terracciano and knocking it into an empty net.

Milan full-back Alessandro Florenzi went close to a third when his fierce drive from the edge of the area was palmed clear by Terracciano at full stretch.

Rossoneri keeper Maignan was then called into action again to acrobatically push over a rising effort from Belotti and then tipped away a half-volley from Rolando Mandragora.

With 15 minutes left, Milan substitute Christian Pulisic saw his goal on the break disallowed for offside as Stefano Pioli’s side closed out a sixth straight win in all competitions.

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is refusing to look any further ahead than Saturday’s Serie A trip to Fiorentina as he targets a rousing finish to the season.

The Rossoneri, who have won their last five games in all competitions, head for the Stadio Artemio Franchi sitting in second place in the table, 14 points adrift of derby rivals Inter, but only three clear of Juventus in third.

With the prospect of Europa League glory still very much alive – they face compatriots Roma in the quarter-finals – the campaign could yet end on a high note, although Pioli, who will be without the suspended Theo Hernandez, will not allow his players to get ahead of themselves.

He told a press conference: “A decisive period is about to begin. We’ll need to focus on playing the best football we can as we look to improve the level of our performances with two very important months in store.

“We have nine league matches remaining and we hope we’ll also be involved in five more Europa League fixtures. Every game will be important, starting from Fiorentina. They’re a team that have often caused us problems.

“It’s only normal to talk about the future when there’s an international break, but I’m focused on doing the best I can in the next 60 days so we can finish the season in the best way possible.

“Conclusions can only be drawn at the end, so we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Fiorentina have proved tricky opponents in recent seasons – in the last six league encounters, the sides have been separated by just one goal, and La Viola have won the last two games they have hosted.

Milan’s latest visit to Florence comes with the home team still mourning the loss of general manager Joe Barone, who collapsed and died at the age of 57 as the Fiorentina party prepared to leave the team hotel for their league clash with Atalanta earlier this month.

Pioli, whose side won the reverse fixture in November 1-0, said: “It’s not the first time that Fiorentina have experienced a complicated situation. Florence and the team’s fans are fantastic when there is a need to come together to overcome difficult moments like a bereavement.

“We expect a special atmosphere at the start in memory of a person who did so much for the club.”

Vincenzo Italiano’s side, who head into the weekend in eighth place and four points adrift of the top six, have not played since a 1-1 Europa Conference League draw with Maccabi Haifa on March 14 with the Atalanta game having been postponed after Barone was rushed to hospital.

Italiano said: “We need to restart and honour our director with all the things that were his: passion, love and attachment to this city, these colours and this club.”

Fiorentina director Joe Barone has died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Sunday.

The 57-year-old Italian-American businessman was taken to a cardiac intensive care unit in Milan hours before Fiorentina were supposed to play against Atalanta in Bergamo, with the Serie A fixture being postponed as a result.

A statement on the club’s official website on Tuesday read: “It is with deep sorrow and immense sadness that Fiorentina confirms the loss of one of its figureheads, a person who has marked the recent history of the club and who will never be forgotten. General director Giuseppe Barone passed away today at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan after suddenly falling ill on Sunday.”

Barone, who began working for Rocco Commisso’s Mediacom business in 2017, joined Fiorentina when the latter purchased the Tuscan club in November 2019, working closely alongside sporting director Daniele Prade and with head coach Vincenzo Italiano as La Viola showed clear improvement in the league and reached the 2023 Europa Conference League final, losing to West Ham.

The statement continued: “Rocco Commisso and his family, Daniele Prade, Nicolas Burdisso, Alessandro Ferrari, Vincenzo Italiano, Cristiano Biraghi and everyone associated with Fiorentina are utterly devastated by the terrible loss of a man who showed great professionalism and gave his heart and soul for these colours. He was a treasured friend who always stayed strong in the happiest and, above all, the most difficult moments.

“The entire Viola world sends its heartfelt condolences to Giuseppe’s wife Camilla, his children and the entire Barone family during this time of immense sorrow.”

Inter Milan’s fine season continued as they moved back to the Serie A summit after in-form Lautaro Martinez hit the only goal of the game to down Fiorentina.

It was a 22nd goal of the campaign for Martinez, who raced to the near-post to head home Kristjan Aslani’s 14th-minute corner.

Nico Gonzalez saw a second-half penalty saved as Inter secured the three points with a 1-0 win that extends their unbeaten run to 15 games.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have now 17 of their 21 Serie A games this season – equalling their previous record at this stage, set in 2006/07 under Roberto Mancini as they went on to win the league by 22 points.

Carlos Augusto thought he had given the visitors the lead with a close-range finish but was denied by brilliant defending by Davide Faraoni.

But Martinez would turn home the resulting corner, glancing a near-post header in after he had easily slipped the attention of his marker.

The Argentina World Cup winner had proved to be the match-winner last time out – his injury-time effort sealing a 1-0 win over Napoli in the Italian Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia.

Marcus Thuram could not sort his feet out when played through on goal as Inter looked to build on their lead before Yann Sommer made a fine stop to prevent Giacomo Bonaventura levelling for the home side.

Inter thought they had doubled their but had a goal ruled out for offside as Marko Arnautovic turned home from a Henrikh Mkhitaryan pass, only for the flag to go up against the Armenia international.

Fiorentina were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a controversial penalty following a lengthy VAR check for a foul against Sommer.

The Switzerland goalkeeper had punched away a cross but caught M’Bala Nzola in the face with his fist and the video assistant referee flagged the incident to the onfield official.

A spot-kick was duly awarded but Sommer would make amends as Gonzalez – on as a substitute as he returned from injury – hit a tame spot-kick that was easily saved.

It proved to be the best chance the hosts would have in attempting to rescue a result, while Inter moved back above Juventus to the summit.

Juve visit the San Siro next Sunday with just one point separating the two sides at the top of Serie A – the pair having drawn 1-1 in Turin earlier this season.

A first-half penalty from Theo Hernandez helped AC Milan return to winning ways in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina.

Stefano Pioli’s champions had not won in the division since October after home defeats to Juventus and Udinese were sandwiched between 2-2 draws on the road at Napoli and Lecce before the international break.

While it was far from vintage Milan, France defender Hernandez made the difference with his second goal of the season after he won and converted a spot-kick at the end of the first half to earn a much-needed three points.

History was made late in the victory when Pioli introduced 15-year-old Francesco Camarda for his debut, making him the youngest ever player to appear in Serie A.

Milan’s hopes of a first league win since October 7 were dented by the absence of the suspended Olivier Giroud and injured attacker Rafael Leao.

Christian Pulisic was back after a hamstring injury though and he forced Pietro Terracciano into action midway through a tense first half at the San Siro.

After chances had been few and far between, Milan started to take a stranglehold of the contest with Davide Calabria denied, but Fiorentina remained a threat.

Eight-goal hitman Nicolas Gonzalez fired wide before the break and the half looked destined to end goalless until Hernandez took matters into his own hand in stoppage-time.

Full-back Hernandez was fouled inside the area by Fabiano Parisi and was able to dust himself down to slot home from 12 yards and make it 1-0 to Milan.

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano had seen enough and introduced Maxime Lopez for Arthur at half-time.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by AC Milan (@acmilan)

 

It had the desired effort with a string of opportunities created for Gonzalez, but a combination of Mike Maignan and the woodwork kept the hosts ahead.

Milan head coach Pioli brought off Pulisic on the hour mark after his prolonged absence, with ex-Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek brought on after his own recent return from injury.

And the chance to clinch the points arrived for the home side with 15 minutes left when Hernandez sent Luka Jovic clear, but Terracciano was equal to his effort.

Pioli sent on Camarda for Jovic in the 83rd minute and in the process made the 15-year-old the league’s youngest ever player, but Milan were indebted to a fine late save from Maignan to keep out Rolando Mandragora’s close-range effort and help his team end their four-match winless run in Serie A.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is happy for Juventus to continue their progress under the radar.

The Turin club are firmly in the Serie A title hunt after a strong start to the season as they bid to make a return to European qualification, having been excluded from this year’s Europa Conference League over breaches of UEFA’s financial fair play rules.

Juventus travel to Fiorentina on Sunday night bidding for a fourth straight win and Allegri is pleased with their progress.

“We must work on our weaknesses and become rock solid,” Allegri told his pre-match press conference.

“We’re on the right track but we’ve only played 10 games and that’s not enough to achieve our goal of qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

“As I said, the important thing is working hard to grow and improve to become a rock-solid team. We need to be more precise and efficient in front of goal as well as improving our defence because things can go wrong very quickly in football.

“It takes balance. We have to remain solid throughout the season because we’ve got a goal to achieve.

“Low profile, less talk and more graft.”

After an impressive start to the campaign, Fiorentina’s form has tailed off a touch having lost their last two matches without scoring.

But Allegri is wary of the threat posed by the hosts, with Nicolas Gonzalez a particular challenge to Juventus having scored five goals in nine matches.

“It’s a big game tomorrow because there’s always been great rivalry between Juve and Fiorentina,” Allegri added.

“They’re an excellent side even though they’re coming in off the back of two league defeats. They like to attack and play good football.

“We’re going to need a big performance if we want to come away with a good result. I consider Fiorentina one of the best-equipped teams of the season because they have lots of great players both technically and physically.

“They will be fighting for a place in the top four. This year Fiorentina have got a great squad.

“They have a striker like Nico Gonzalez, two centre-forwards with Christian Kouame on the left and Giacomo Bonaventura who’s doing big things. Arthur has also recovered from injury and is doing well.”

Former Everton striker Moise Kean has yet to score this season in nine appearances for Juventus and Italy but Allegri praised the 23-year-old’s growth and told all his attackers that they need to contribute.

“Kean is in a great place. He’s grown both physically and technically and his mentality has improved no end. I’m happy with him but he must keep improving,” Allegri added.

“All five of our forwards are in good form. (Federico) Chiesa and (Dusan) Vlahovic know they need to contribute to the good of the team, just like the rest of the group because everyone is important.”

Napoli boss Rudi Garcia is expecting his team to deliver against Fiorentina on Sunday.

The Partenopei boss revealed at a press conference that he asked his team to win their three Serie A matches ahead of the international break, following a disappointing goalless draw at Bologna.

After a 4-1 home victory over Udinese and 4-0 success at Lecce last time out, Garcia’s players are close to providing the right answer to his request.

Ahead of Sunday’s visit of La Viola to the Stadio Maradona, Garcia told his club’s official website: “I asked the team for three straight wins and on Sunday we have the chance to achieve that.

“We’re in third place, alongside Fiorentina. We want to beat them to stay up near the top and consolidate our position.”

However, the 59-year-old knows his team will not have things all their own way as they seek to extend their winning league run.

He continued: “We know they’re a team who play good football and they’ve enjoyed an excellent start to the season.

“Fiorentina have top-quality players, they’re well drilled and have a clear playing philosophy. They’ve scored lots of headed goals and we’ve analysed their strengths.

“They’re a similar team to us in the way they press and win the ball back. We know it will be a difficult match but we’re playing at home and we must show we’re capable of winning it.”

Despite their strong league form, Napoli lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

However, Garcia says the team should not be short of confidence despite the home defeat.

He explained: “We can take confidence and become stronger because of it. The way we played shows we’re capable of giving world-class teams like Real a game.

“There were little things we should have done better, especially when we conceded the goals, but it can help us grow.

“The Real Madrid match shows we’re a strong side but now we need to take that into our game on Sunday and be even more determined when defending.”

Garcia has not ruled out making changes against Fiorentina, revealing he would decide after their final training session ahead of the game.

Defender Amir Rrahmani is closing in on a return from a muscle injury but is not yet fit to play 90 minutes.

Lautaro Martinez scored a second-half brace as Inter Milan moved top of Serie A after easing to a 4-0 victory over Fiorentina to extend their 100 per cent start to the season at San Siro.

The hosts began to press from the off and Denzel Dumfries half-tested returning Fiorentina goalkeeper Oliver Christensen – who missed Thursday’s Europa Conference League qualifying play-off with Rapid Vienna – with an easy shot.

Marcus Thuram headed Dumfries’ cross straight at Christensen after 11 minutes as Inter looked for an opener.

Eight minutes later, the home side came close with their first real chance of note as Thuram continued to cause Fiorentina problems but he fired over the crossbar after a nice run.

The summer signing from Borussia Monchengladbach did finally break the deadlock with his first goal for Inter midway through the first half.

Federico Dimarco whipped in a well-timed cross to pick out Thuram, whose powerful header from the centre of the box beat Christensen.

The hosts came close to doubling their lead on the half-hour mark and Thuram was again well placed to claim his brace but he could not turn Alessandro Bastoni’s cross home as he fired over.

The Viola were pushing hard for an equaliser as the half started to draw to a close but were yet to really test Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

While – at the other end – a brilliant Inter free-kick from Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu was well kept out by the diving Christensen and Thuram fired another wasted chance over on the stroke of half-time.

Fiorentina looked like they might try their luck early in the second half but were easily thwarted by the Nerazzurri, who proved too strong for their opponents and found their rhythm soon afterwards.

The hosts doubled their lead – following a chance where Dumfries struck the post – after 53 minutes as Martinez went on a run from outside the box and slotted home Thuram’s cross with a great strike straight down the middle.

Inter were given the chance to extend their lead further before the half-hour mark as they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Christensen on Thuram.

Calhanoglu made no mistake to score his first goal of the season as he sent his powerful spot-kick to the keeper’s bottom-left, leaving Christensen diving down to his right.

Inter continued to dominate and put the result beyond doubt with 17 minutes remaining as Martinez tapped the ball home after beating his opponent to substitute Juan Cuadrado’s inch-perfect cross into the box.

Fiorentina could find no reply as the hosts kept their clean-sheet record intact for the season while moving above rivals AC Milan at the top of the table.

Simone Inzaghi knows Inter Milan will need to maintain their standards against Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday.

Inzaghi’s side have picked up maximum points from their first two Serie A matches after 2-0 wins over Monza and Cagliari.

He told the club’s official website: “We’ve started with real determination; the lads have been excellent. We’ve played two matches, and tomorrow we have another very important game. We’ll be as determined as we always are whenever we take to the pitch.

“We know we’ll be facing an excellent side who are well coached and have excellent players. In the past couple of years, we’ve played them many times and they’ve all been difficult games. We’ll need to approach the match in the best way possible.

“In terms of playing principles, both teams make use of the flanks, which will obviously be the case tomorrow, too. We’ll need to cover the pitch in the best way possible because we know that Fiorentina occupy all areas of the pitch very well.”

Inter Milan, Champions League runners-up last term, had a major overhaul of players in the summer.

The likes of Andre Onana, Marcelo Brozovic, Robin Gosens and Edin Dzeko all went to new clubs while Romelu Lukaku’s loan stay expired.

The arrivals of Benjamin Pavard, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Thuram along with others have boosted the squad and Inzaghi is happy with the options he has at his disposal.

He added: “For 50 days now, the lads have been working on our principles and many other things that we know we need to improve.

“My staff and I are very satisfied because we see on a daily basis how the boys try to follow our instructions.

“They’re working very well. We know that there have been some big changes this year. We’ve lost some important players who did very well for us, but we’ve brought in some equally important players. Some of them are more experienced, and they’ll help our younger lads to integrate as quickly as possible.”

Inter Milan lost 1-0 to Manchester City in last season’s Champions League final.

On Thursday, they learned of their 2023 group-stage opponents and Inzaghi thinks his side will face a “competitive” start to the tournament.

He added: “We were eagerly anticipating the draw. Last year, we knew how difficult our group was.

“This year, meanwhile, we’re in a very competitive group. We know all about Benfica, who we faced in the quarter-finals last season, while Salzburg are a strong and young side who have been involved in the Champions League for many years now.

“Real Sociedad play some excellent football and did really well in LaLiga last year. It’ll be very competitive, and we’ll try to ensure that we’re ready when the time comes.”

AC Milan have signed Serbia striker Luka Jovic from Fiorentina.

Jovic spent one season in Florence, scoring 13 goals in 50 appearances, after a three-year spell at Real Madrid.

“AC Milan is delighted to announce the signing of Luka Jovic on a permanent transfer,” read a statement from the Serie A club.

“The Serbian striker has signed a contract with the club until 30 June 2024.”

Jovic, 25, began his career at Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade before spells at Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt and Real.

Forward Lorenzo Colombo, meanwhile, will spend the 2023/24 season on loan at Monza after extending his AC Milan contract until June 2028.

West Ham face Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League in Prague on Wednesday night.

Here, the PA news agency shines a spotlight on the Italian outfit.

Pedigree

In qualifying for the showpiece in Prague, Fiorentina became the first team to reach all four finals of the major European competitions. They lost in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in 1957 and won the inaugural Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961 by beating Rangers 4-1 on aggregate in the final. Their last appearance in a European final was a defeat by fierce rivals Juventus in the 1990 UEFA Cup final.

Coach

Vincenzo Italiano, 45, spent most of his playing career as a midfielder with Verona. As a coach he led Spezia to promotion to Serie A in 2020 and kept them up the following season before moving to Fiorentina, where he guided ‘I Viola’ back into Europe for the first time since 2017.

Form

Fiorentina have enjoyed a fine end to their league campaign, winning eight, drawing four and losing just two matches since March, securing an eighth-placed finish in Serie A. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Champions League finalists Inter Milan.

Style

Italiano’s free-flowing side are the top scorers in the Conference League with 36 goals, at an average of just over two-and-a-half per match. Italiano also deploys a high defensive line in a bid to squeeze the opposition and control the tempo of the match while dominating possession.

Key men

Morocco World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat could be playing his final match for the Italians amid reported interest from Barcelona and Manchester United. Fellow midfielder Antonin Barak is one of Serie A’s most creative players but could be an injury doubt for the final.

Lautaro Martinez was Inter's hero as his two goals saw them retain the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina.

Martinez produced two fine first-half finishes – the first for his 100th Inter goal – as the Nerazzurri rallied following Nicolas Gonzalez's third-minute opener at a raucous Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Vincenzo Italiano's Viola piled on the pressure after the break, but Inter captain Samir Handanovic made a string of crucial saves, the most impressive of them to deny Luka Jovic.

That rear-guard action from Inter ensured they clung on to retain the trophy, and with a Champions League final against Manchester City to come next month, the Nerazzurri are in the hunt for a double.

It was a dream start for Fiorentina. Jonathan Ikone found space to send in a low cross from the left, allowing his opposite winger Gonzalez to tap home at the far post.

Edin Dzeko missed two chances to level for Inter, but it was his partner-in-crime Martinez who stepped up just before the half-hour mark, latching onto Marcelo Brozovic's pass to finish low across goal.

Martinez doubled up just eight minutes later, volleying Nicolo Barella's delicate cross beyond Pietro Terracciano.

Arthur Cabral headed straight at Handanovic from close range, before Inter substitute Romelu Lukaku tested Terracciano at the other end.

Handanovic remained alert to deny Gonzalez a double of his own from a tight angle, while Robin Gosens somehow failed to prod Lukaku's cross into a gaping net to kill the contest.

Jovic had two chances to send the game to extra time after entering the fray, but Handanovic thwarted the former Real Madrid striker with a brilliant one-on-one save before watching a header from the Serbian spin just wide as Inter claimed a ninth Coppa crown.

Victor Osimhen saw one penalty saved before scoring another as Napoli marked their Scudetto celebrations with a 1-0 win against Fiorentina amid a carnival atmosphere.

Having ended a 33-year wait to win Serie A on Thursday, Luciano Spalletti's men were greeted by a jubilant crowd at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but two much-changed lineups made for a low-key opening. 

Osimhen thought he had missed the Partenopei's best chance for victory when he had a second-half spot-kick saved by Pietro Terracciano, but a foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia gave him the chance to atone.

Serie A's top goalscorer hammered home at the second time of asking, ensuring Napoli's long-awaited Scudetto party was capped with three points.

Fiorentina gave Napoli a pre-match guard of honour, but they were determined not to extend similar levels of hospitality after kick-off, Luka Jovic heading narrowly over early on.

Eljif Elmas shot wide as Napoli – who started with Kvaratskhelia and Stanislav Lobotka on the bench – were slow to click into gear.

Jovic went close again when his deft header was turned away by Pierluigi Gollini, before Osimhen fired into the side netting from a tight angle as half-time approached.

Both Kvaratskhelia and Lobotka were introduced as Napoli looked to step things up, and the latter had an immediate impact when he tempted Sofyan Amrabat into a clumsy foul after the restart, handing Osimhen his first spot-kick. 

Osimhen was denied on this occasion as Terracciano pushed his effort around the left-hand post, but he was to get another chance with 16 minutes left.

Nicolas Gonzalez tripped Kvaratskhelia as he darted into the area, and Osimhen made no mistake second time around, blasting into the roof of the net.

Christian Kouame missed Fiorentina's best chance to level when he lifted over late on, ensuring the champions clung on.

Fiorentina sealed their place in the Coppa Italia final after a 0-0 draw against Cremonese on Thursday at Stadio Artemio Franchi, securing a 2-0 aggregate win.

A frantic start to the game did not lead to any goals, with few clear-cut chances for either team despite the pace of the play in the first half.

It took until the 73rd minute for Cremonese to have anything that could be called a chance, with Charles Pickel seeing a close-range header closed down by Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano.

Nicolas Gonzalez curled a shot wide at the other end moments later, but on the whole, it was a match devoid of any serious opportunities.

The hosts hit the target just once from 13 attempts, while Cremonese could only muster two shots at all as Vincenzo Italiano's men comfortably kept them at bay.

Fiorentina will be hoping to rediscover the form that recently saw them win 10 games in a row, having not claimed victory in four, but have almost a month to prepare for Inter, when they will look to lift their seventh Coppa Italia.

La Viola will face the Nerazzurri in the final on May 24 after Simone Inzaghi's men dumped out Juventus in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.