Senad Lulic snatched a late winner to give Lazio the Coppa Italia over arch rivals Roma and a spot in the Europa League!
“It’s all or nothing,” said Aurelio Andreazzoli before the game, as this was worth the Coppa Italia, Europa League qualification, the chance to face Juventus in the Italian Super Cup, bragging rights and the opportunity to save an otherwise disappointing season. Maarten Stekelenburg was injured and Mattia Destro picked ahead of Pablo Daniel Osvaldo due to his strong Coppa scoring record. Alvaro Gonzalez and Andre Dias were only fit for the Lazio bench, so Eddy Onazi and Lorik Cana stepped in.
This was only the third time a local derby had ever decided the Coppa Italia after Juventus-Torino in 1938 and Milan-Inter in 1977. Roma could become the first club ever to win the Cup 10 times and therefore have a permanent silver star on their shirts, but Lazio had only lost one of their total six Finals.
Cristian Ledesma was booked after 45 seconds for a foul on Marquinho, immediately setting the tone for a passionate evening. Senad Lulic’s angled drive was palmed away and Miroslav Klose turned the follow-up on to the side-netting from close range.
Michael Bradely burst into the box, but went too wide and his finish flashed across the face of goal. Francesco Totti and Erik Lamela didn’t get enough power behind their shots to trouble Federico Marchetti, while Marquinhos stood strong in the box to prevent Lulic getting into position to shoot.
On 35 minutes Lazio had a fantastic chance, as a cross was floated in for Klose’s header and Lobont parried from point-blank range under the bar.
It was a tense first half with Ledesma, Federico Balzaretti, Marquinho, Hernanes and Klose all given yellow cards. Destro went very close on the stroke of half-time, his header from a Marquinhos cross was inches over from four yards.
Giuseppe Biava flung himself at a Marquinho shot to charge it down in the penalty area, while Marquinhos surged forward from defence only to drill wide. Ledesma was stretchered off with a suspected groin strain, making way for Stefano Mauri, moving Hernanes to that deeper role.
Totti blasted one of his trademark free kicks over the bar and a wayward Hernanes strike almost turned into an assist for Klose at the back post.
Lamela squirmed between three players only for Biava to again bravely charge down the shot. The move continued and on the counter Mauri’s volley across the six-yard box was inches past Klose, who again came sliding in for what would’ve been a tap-in.
Marchetti smothered a Totti daisy-cutter, then Destro turned his marker to test the goalkeeper at the base of the near stick.
The game had sprung into life and Lazio broke the deadlock with Lulic. Lobont flapped at a Candreva cross from the right and it went across the face of goal to meet Lulic’s tap-in at the back post.
Roma almost equalised a minute later when Totti’s free kick glanced off Destro’s head from point-blank range, but Marchetti showed great reflexes to parry it on to the underside of the crossbar.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was introduced, changing Roma to a 3-4-3 system. Marchetti punched away a Lamela free kick, but the tactics allowed Lazio repeated danger on the counter-attack.
Panagiotis Tachtsidis was sent off from the bench for dissent and Totti booked, as the frustration spilled over. Mauri should’ve scored a second for Lazio on the counter, but fired straight at Lobont’s chest.
Roma 0-1 Lazio
Scorers: Lulic 71 (L)
Roma: Lobont; Marquinhos, Burdisso, Castan, Balzaretti (Osvaldo 76); Bradley, De Rossi; Lamela, Totti, Marquinho (Dodo 82); Destro
Lazio: Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Cana, Radu; Ledesma (Mauri 54); Candreva, Hernanes (Gonzalez 83), Onazi (Ciani 92), Lulic; Klose