Rome, Jan 27 (DPA): Inter Milan prevailed 5-4 Wednesday over Napoli on penalties after a scoreless draw to qualify for the Italian Cup semi-finals.
The speed of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi sustained by a solid midfield that also protects a three-man defence were Napoli's trademark tactics against the powerful cup holders and European champions.
Both sides started at a fast pace at the San Paolo, where Serb Dejan Stankovic tried his shooting skills with a first wide drive for Inter on 16 minutes and had another effort saved on 36 minutes before his defence team-mate Cristian Chivu missed an easy header.
Argentina's Lavezzi fired feebly after a counterattack from Napoli and was possibly to blame for not exchanging with Cavani, who had no luck as he tried a couple of breaks into the box.
Before the break, Napoli had to thank custodian Morgan De Sanctis for prodigiously deflecting against the bar a smashing volley from Esteban Cambiasso off a taut Douglas Maicon cross.
In a slower second half, Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro fumbled a close-range deflection, and Cavani nodded feebly as Inter failed to offer chances to their Cameroon bomber Samuel Eto'o.
Slovak Marek Hamsik missed Napoli's last chance in regulation time, when Castellazzi parried his drive and Andrea Ranocchia cleared his header on the rebound.
The Naples hosts took full control in extra time and threatened with firm drives from Argentines Hugo Campagnaro and Lavezzi, putting Inter in serious trouble however avoiding a shootout that proved fateful for them.
AC Milan qualified earlier Wednesday through a 2-1 win over hosts Sampdoria with a brace from Brazilian Pato.
Juventus and Roma Thursday complete a quarter-final schedule that began Tuesday when Palermo beat Parma on penalties, prevailing 5-4 after a 0-0 draw.