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Inter ease into q-finals after closed-door game

Inter Milan cruised into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia yesterday morning (Singapore time) after beating second-tier Benevento 6-2 in a match played behind closed doors, following the racist abuse of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly last month.

Inter ran riot in a San Siro left empty as part of their punishment for the monkey chants directed at Koulibaly during their 1-0 Boxing Day win over Napoli.

"That wasn't a real match tonight," said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti. "The protagonists of the game are the fans, who should come and have fun watching the show on the pitch.

"We can't deprive good people of enjoyment because others disturb the match (with their behaviour).

"We need to reward that type of fan, who needs to take a stand against the chants they don't want to take part in."

Spalletti's side were two up inside seven minutes - thanks to a roaring start that saw Mauro Icardi open the scoring from the spot following a foul on Antonio Candreva, who was on hand to crash home after Icardi hit the post from a corner to double the hosts' lead.

The tie was put beyond doubt in first-half stoppage time when Dalbert collected Ivan Perisic's pass and thumped in the third.

In the quarter-finals, Inter will take on Lazio, embroiled in a racism scandal of their own.

Their 4-1 thumping of third-division Novara at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday was sullied by racist and anti-Semitic chanting.

Lazio's notorious hardcore ultra fans aimed a series of ugly barbs at their bitter city rivals Roma as their side ran up a four-goal lead before half-time, taunting them with chants of "Yellow, red and Jewish" and "This Roma that looks like Africa".

Napoli will take on AC Milan in the last eight after goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Fabian Ruiz saw off Sassuolo at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples. Milan beat Sampdoria 2-0 on Saturday.

Juventus booked their quarter-final berth with a 2-0 win over Bologna, while two late goals from Federico Chiesa saw Fiorentina beat Torino. - AFP

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