Napoli v Lazio: Cup master Benitez to eliminate holders

Rafael Benitez is eyeing up a new addition to his trophy cabinet
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Michael Lintorn tips Napoli to spare Rome the drama of three February derbies by beating Lazio in their Coppa Italia quarter-final...

"Lazio have drawn one and lost two of their last three Sao Paolo visits, firing blanks in the last two, and winning one domestic away game all season."
Best Bet: Back Napoli to win @ 1.68/13

Napoli v Lazio, Wednesday 19:45, Sky Sports 3, Match Odds: Napoli 1.68/13, Lazio 6.611/2, The Draw 4.3100/30

Rafael Benitez's Napoli reign hasn't been quite as successful as initially hoped, with too many points carelessly surrendered in Serie A after a steely start, but one thing that you can rely on with Rafa is a committed cup challenge.

The Spaniard is admired as a silverware-swiping specialist due to guiding Valencia to a UEFA Cup, Liverpool to the Champions League and FA Cup and Inter to an Italian Super Cup and Club World Cup in an otherwise abject stint. He even brightened a six-month stay at Chelsea with the Europa League.

Benitez's desire to bring similar joy to the people of Naples was signalled by selecting a very strong side for the round-of-16 victory over Atalanta. Lazio by contrast rotated heavily against Parma, only for an injury-time winner to earn this San Paolo trip.

The capital club's reappointment of ex-Napoli boss Edy Reja following Vladimir Petkovic's controversy-drenched departure has instantly lifted the squad despite no January arrivals.

They are unbeaten in five, a run that was supposed to end against dominant Serie A leaders Juventus last Saturday. With Gigi Buffon seeing red in the first half, they came closer to triumphing in a 1-1 draw though.

However, with a weakened team expected again - Brayan Perea ahead of flu-ridden Miroslav Klose and Felipe Anderson instead of Hernanes - and a terrible recent record against Napoli, winning once in six clashes during a spell in which both rivals re-emerged as top-three chasers, defeat is likely.

The Coppa Italia holders have drawn one and lost two of their last three Sao Paolo visits, firing blanks in the last two, winning one domestic away game all season, so shouldn't progress to a semi-final derby double header with 2013/14 final victims Roma.

Half Time/Full Time

Lazio trailed at the interval in four of their five away Serie A reverses, which isn't a great surprise as they have scored just one first-half goal on the road in ten league fixtures.

Napoli have netted 11 times in the first half of their last ten domestic home games, so should enjoy a half-time lead.

Best Bet: Back Napoli to win @ 1.68/13
Other Recommended Bet: Back Napoli to win at half time and full time @ 2.486/4

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