GENOA - Inter face an uphill task in their bid to reach a fifth consecutive Tim Cup final after losing 3-0 to Sampdoria in the first leg of their semi-final tie at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Antonio Cassano fired a full-strength home side ahead inside the tenth minute of Wednesday's clash in the pouring rain, robbing Nelson Rivas and pacing into the box before lobbing the onrushing Toldo.
Samp were two goals to the good by the half hour when Raggi diverted Palombo's corner into the path of Giampaolo Pazzini who headed beyond Toldo from close range.
Pazzini put the Blucerchiati in total control just before the break, sliding into an open goal after Toldo's parry from Padalino.
Sampdoria were reduced to ten men 14 minutes into the second half with Gastaldello receiving his marching orders for a second booking.
Mourinho exploited the man advantage, throwing on Crespo for Maxwell, but was forced into a second substitution minutes later after Balotelli collided with a post.
Crespo forced saves from Castellazzi, first with a close-range shot and then with a flicked header, as Inter looked to reduce the gap ahead of next month's return leg.
Castellazzi made more reflex saves from Adriano and Crespo, denying Muntari in the final minutes as Sampdoria preserved their lead.
Sampdoria 3-0 Inter (HT: 3-0)
Scorers: Cassano 9, Pazzini 30, 42.
Sampdoria: 1 Castellazzi; 16 Campagnaro (77 Da Costa 74), 28 Gastaldello, 84 Raggi; 20 Padalino, 21 Sammarco, 17 Palombo, 19 Franceschini, 46 Pieri; 10 Pazzini (23 Stankevicius 66), 99 Cassano (11 Bellucci 85).
Subs not used: 90 Fiorillo, 3 Ziegler, 29 Ferri, 88 Dessena.
Coach: Vittorio Russo (Walter Mazzarri is disqualified).
Inter: 1 Toldo; 2 Cordoba, 23 Materazzi, 24 Rivas (13 Maicon 46); 4 Zanetti, 14 Vieira, 20 Muntari, 6 Maxwell (18 Crespo 60); 33 Mancini, 10 Adriano, 45 Balotelli (21 Obinna 67).
Subs not used: 22 Orlandoni, 5 Stankovic, 11 Jimenez, 19 Cambiasso.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Referee: Massimiliano Saccani (Mantua).
Booked: Gastaldello 25, 59, Cordoba 53, Balotelli 57, Materazzi 87, Zanetti 87.
Sent off: Gastaldello 59.