Lazio took their chances with Stefan Radu and a Hernanes double to end Catania’s Coppa Italia dream and sweep into the Semi-Final 3-0.
The Biancocelesti will face the winners of tomorrow’s Juventus-Milan match in the final four.
Vladimir Petkovic switched to a three-man defence with Lorik Cana at the back in a bid to continue their 12-match unbeaten run in all competition, while Catania fielded an almost full-strength side.
In the opening minute Alberto Frison had to smother a Hernanes header after good work down the right from Luis Pedro Cavanda. However, Catania rattled the frame of the goal moments later with a screamer from Mariano Izco.
Frison palmed an Antonio Candreva snapshot round the base of the post, while Alexis Rolin crucially tackled the former Udinese midfielder to stop a dangerous counter-attack.
It was Lazio who took the lead on the half-hour mark when a corner was floated into the box for Radu’s glancing header at the near post. Curiously, he had never scored for the Biancocelesti before this season, but now has two after netting in the Europa League.
A Sergio Floccari powerful shot on the volley stung Frison’s palms. Gonzalo Bergessio found himself in a very promising position after springing the offside trap, but pulled the angled drive off target.
Within 60 seconds of the restart, Catania had gone close with Sergio Almiron curling just over the bar after Hernanes lost possession in midfield.
Gonzalo Bergessio also struck from the edge of the box, forcing Albano Bizzarri to fingertip it over the bar. From the resulting corner, Ciro Capuano’s free header was wide.
However, just as Catania were stepping up the pressure, Lazio doubled their lead. Floccari used strength and pace to burst between two defenders and pull back from the by-line for Hernanes, who glanced in the finish from six yards. ‘The Prophet’ celebrated with his trademark backflip.
Candreva fired just wide, while Bergessio again scuffed his shot when a lucky ricochet fell at his feet.
Francesco Lodi’s free kick whistled over and Cristian Brocchi volleyed an Alejandro Gonzalez cross past the post. Gonzalez went for goal himself, a stunning volley just wide from distance.
In stoppages Hernanes completed his brace to secure an emphatic victory. Floccari’s disguised reverse pass sent him into the box and the Brazilian confused Frison with some fancy footwork to deposit into the empty net.
Lazio 3-0 Catania
Scorers: Radu 30 (L), Hernanes 61, 90 (L)
Lazio:Bizzarri; Biava, Cana, Radu (Ciani 86); Cavanda (Brocchi 78), Gonzalez, Ledesma, Hernanes, Lulic; Candreva (Konko 67); Floccari
Catania: Frison; Bellusci, Legrottaglie, Rolin, Capuano (Ricchiuti 84); Izco, Lodi, Almiron; Gomez, Bergessio (Doukara 84), Barrientos (Castro 67)
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