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Palermo end Parma's cup run

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By Varun Mathure

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Palermo defeated Parma in a sudden death penalty shoot-out at the Renzo Barbera to advance to the semifinals of the Coppa Italia where they will face either Sampdoria or Milan.

The Sicilians held their nerve at the end as youngster Jara Martinez beat an otherwise excellent Nicola Pavarini for the decisive penalty after Francesco Valiani missed his attempt to end the shootout at 5-4.

Th two teams drew blank in the 120 minutes of regulation football as both sets of forwards were denied by some good defensive work and Palermo's forwards were particularly culpable of some poor finishing.

Parma's back-up goalkeeper Pavarini gave an excellent account of himself and was responsible for keeping the Gialloblu in with a chance for much of the game after denying Josip Ilicic and Javier Pastore from promising positions.

Parma to their credit did try and create a re-run of the late 90s when they strung together some successful cup runs with the likes of Rafael Palladino and Sebastien Giovinco coming close for the visitors.

Eventually in penalties, veteran Hernan Crespo missed Parma's first attempt but was mighty relieved to see Mattia Cassani's opening effort saved as well. Both teams hit four for four in the subsequent attempts before the shoot-out commenced.

Palermo will take confidence from this victory and will now gear up to travel to Inter in the league on Sunday while Genoa welcome Parma. Inter themselves will face off against Napoli at the San Paolo tomorrow night.

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