Italian Cup stalemate in Milan derby

Edin Dzeko of FC Internazionale and Fikayo Tomori of AC Milan battle for the ball during the Coppa Italia Semi Final 1st Leg match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 1, 2022 in Milan, Italy. 

Inter Milan's miserable month has continued with a goalless derby draw against AC Milan in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final.

The Nerazzurri are in the midst of a worrying form slump in which they have won only one of their past seven matches in all competitions since the start of February -- and they have failed to score in more than 400 minutes of play.

On Tuesday evening, the Rossoneri were unable to make their superiority count against their out-of-form city rivals in a match of few clear-cut chances.

With Italy's domestic cup not following UEFA's revamp of removing the away goals rule, however, the stalemate will certainly be more kindly looked upon on the red side of Milan, who are level on points with Napoli at the top of Serie A and two clear of Inter in a fierce race for the Scudetto.

Alexis Saelemaekers tested Samir Handanovic during a frantic start after the stadium observed a heartfelt message from Milan's Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko, who scored in their most recent Coppa Italia final win in 2003.

Milan's Theo Hernandez shot wide after a trademark burst forward, while Alessio Romagnoli denied Inter with a superb defensive header on 20 minutes before limping out of the contest injured.

Stefano Pioli's men enjoyed the better of the first period, with Rade Krunic shooting over from a great position and the lively Rafael Leao troubling Inter in an otherwise uninspiring opening 45 minutes.

Krunic missed another promising opportunity soon after, cutting in from the right only to hit a weak shot wide after Alessandro Bastoni blocked well from Saelemaekers.

In a rare Nerazzurri attack, Edin Dzeko narrowly failed to make contact with Denzel Dumfries' cross.

The return leg is April 20 but Milan next face a critical match in their bid to win the league title when they visit Napoli.

Inter, meanwhile, have just two days to recover before a home clash with struggling Salernitana in which they can move to the top of the table with a win.

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