Lazio secured their sixth Coppa Italia title as a Senad Lulic strike gave them a 1-0 over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
Lulic’s effort was the decisive factor in a fiery encounter in which both sides had plenty of chances to secure both bragging rights and silverware after finishing outside the European places in Serie A.
Roma made three changes to the side which beat Napoli in their final game of the league season. Marquinhos and Federico Balzaretti coming in for Vasilis Torosidis and Dodo in defence, while Daniele De Rossi
replaced Panagiotis Tachtsidis.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Petkovic opted to keep stick with much of the side which fell to a 1-0 loss at Cagliari, Stefan Radu taking the place of Andre Dias at the back and Libor Kozak dropped in favour of
Lazio made the better start to proceedings and came close to taking the lead inside the first five minutes, Miroslav Klose hitting the side-netting after reacting quickest to Lulic’s curling effort.
Roma were in no mood to be brushed aside however and soon responded, Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men demonstrating their attacking prowess as Michael Bradley fired wide from close range before Erik Lamela tested Federico Marchetti with a long-range effort.
Still it was Petkovic’s side who continued to create the better opportunities, and only the superb reflexes of Bogdan Lobont prevented them from taking the lead, the Romanian shot-stopper producing an
excellent point-blank save after Klose had powered on to a left-wing cross from Stefan Radu.
Andreazzoli’s men almost grabbed the advantage themselves just before the interval, Mattia Destro heading over from a Marquinhos cross, but it was the two defences that were in control as a goalless first half came to a conclusion.
Lazio suffered a blow early in the second-half with midfielder Cristian Ledesma taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Stefano Mauri.
It was Mauri who had the first real chance to break the deadlock in a dour second period, the former Udinese man volleying across the face of goal with Klose unable to apply the finishing touch.
That scare seemed to spark Roma into life and they soon set about making Marchetti work, Totti and Destro both forcing the ex-Cagliari keeper into two fine saves.
However, despite Roma’s determination, it would be Lazio who finally grabbed the advantage, Lulic stabbing home from close-range after latching onto Antonio Candreva’s deflected right-wing cross to spark
jubilant scenes in the blue half of the stadium.
There was almost an instant reply as a Totti free-kick was palmed onto the underside of the bar by Marchetti.
Andreazzoli’s men had to deal with further indignation as substitute Tachtsidis was dismissed for verbally abusing a match official and, although Roma desperately pressed forward, they were to find a leveller to no avail as Lazio defended stubbornly to seal their first trophy since the 2009 Italian Super Cup.