ROME - Dejan Stankovic and Christian Manfredini scored in the space of a minute as Tim Cup holders Inter were held 1-1 by Lazio at the Olimpico in Tuesday evening's quarter-final first leg.
Roberto Mancini fielded a 4-4-2 formation, with nine changes to the starting line-up that beat Palermo last weekend and Dejan Stankovic in an innovative position just behind Julio Cruz in attack.
The Serb reverted to his usual midfield role when Burdisso and Di Canio both saw red in the fourth minute for an off-the-ball incident, but it didn't stop him from scoring his first goal for Inter since last September, a precise first-time strike into the bottom right corner from Favalli's cross on 26 minutes.
Lazio's reply came a minute later when Manfredini ran on to a through ball from Danish winger Keller then lifted over Toldo and into an open goal. The Biancocelesti went close to taking the lead of the stroke of half time when Albanian striker Tare unleashed a ferocious left-foot shot from the distance which smacked Toldo's crossbar.
Both sides continued to show attacking initiative as tiredness crept in during the second half, but neither managed to capitalise and the Nerazzurri bring a valuable away goal back to Milan for next Thursday's return leg at the Giuseppe Meazza. In between, Inter play Lecce away this Sunday evening in Week 22 of the Serie A championship.
LAZIO 1-1 INTER (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: Stankovic 26, Manfredini 27
LAZIO: 32 Ballotta; 22 Oddo, 2 Stendardo, 25 Cribari, 16 Giallombardo; 31 Keller (11 Mauri 53), 6 Dabo, 20 Liverani (26 Mudingayi 49), 68 Manfredini (8 Zauri 90+1); 9 Di Canio, 17 Tare
Subs not used: 1 Peruzzi, 14 De Silvestri, 18 Rocchi, 19 Pandev
Coach: Delio Rossi
INTER: 1 Toldo; 3 Burdisso, 23 Materazzi, 11 Mihajlovic, 16 Favalli (4 J.Zanetti 65); 21 Solari, 6 C.Zanetti, 8 Pizarro, 33 Wome; 5 Stankovic, 9 Cruz (10 Adriano 65)
Subs not used: 22 Orlandoni, 25 Samuel, 7 Figo, 14 Veron, 18 Kily Gonzalez,
Coach Roberto Mancini
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna)
Booked: Stendardo 11, Wome 40
Sent off: Burdisso 4, Di Canio 4