Côte d'Ivoire international Gervinho hit a fine brace including a late winner to put Roma within sight of their second successive Coppa Italia final thanks to a 3-2 victory over Napoli in the first leg of the sides' semi-final.
Superb individual goals from Gervinho and Dutchman Kevin Strootman, the latter firing a 25-metre screamer past Pepe Reina just after the half hour, had given Roma -- beaten in last year's final by city rivals Lazio -- a 2-0 half-time lead at a rain-hit Olympic Stadium.
As the visitors grew in confidence, Rafael Benitez's side were rewarded for their efforts just after the hour thanks to a superb Dries Mertens leveller.
Mertens had replaced Marek Hamsik only minutes earlier and after picking up a loose ball following a challange on Higuain on the edge of the area, the Belgian rode two tackles to beat De Sanctis with a dipping shot on 70 minutes.
Napoli, Cup winners in 2012, appeared to have settled for a draw that would have boosted their chances in next week's second leg at the San Paolo.