NEWS
Wednesday April 8 2015
Coppa: Lulic sends Napoli out

Senad Lulic scored and performed a decisive goal-line clearance as Lazio beat Napoli to reach the Coppa Italia Final.

See how the action unfolded on our LIVEBLOG.

The first leg ended 1-1, so the Aquile needed to score at least once to book an appointment with Juventus in the Final. Stefano Pioli’s men were coming off seven consecutive Serie A victories, though Keita Balde Diao was suspended with Stefan Radu injured. Rafa Benitez was under pressure following poor results that saw them slip to sixth in the League table.

The visitors had a great chance in the opening three minutes, Antonio Candreva’s shot blocked by Miguel Angel Britos after a Felipe Anderson through ball. Candreva then saw his angled drive whistle inches past the far post.

Napoli went very close indeed on 28 minutes, as Manolo Gabbiadini’s free kick from 25 metres smacked against the base of the upright.

Raul Albiol was booked for kicking Miroslav Klose after losing possession and would be suspended if Napoli reached the Final.

Gabbiadini threatened again, his header off target from a Marek Hamsik cross, then the ex-Sampdoria player just failed to get on the end of a Dries Mertens ball across the face of goal. At the other end, Edson Braafheid horribly wasted a free header from six yards.

The hosts had their best chance yet on 50 minutes, as Christian Maggio rolled across for Gonzalo Higuain at the back post, but Berisha got a fingertip to it and then smothered at the feet of Mertens.

Candreva’s deflected attempt was straight at Mariano Andujar, but Napoli were increasingly dangerous and Dusan Basta dived in to block a Mertens shot in the box.

There was a double opportunity on the hour mark, as first Klose had penalty appeals for a Britos challenge, then on the counter Higuain’s first touch let him down when one-on-one.

Higuain almost scored another when he pounced on a terrible Braafheid back-pass, but Berisha rushed outside the box for a clean sliding tackle.

Jose Callejon volleyed a pass over the top for Jonathan de Guzman only for another poor first touch to ruin the chance when clear on goal.

Felipe Anderson flashed a cross to the back post for Senad Lulic, his header forcing a splendid reaction save from Andujar. Marek Hamsik’s scorching half-volley whistled just wide, but they couldn’t keep wasting so many chances.

Lazio took the lead 11 minutes from time when Felipe Anderson rolled across for Lulic to tap in from six yards. That put them in front on the night and on aggregate. Lulic was not new to important Coppa Italia goals, as his strike allowed Lazio to beat Roma in the Final and win the 2013 trophy.

Lorenzo Insigne came off the bench and immediately went on a spectacular run from a Lazio corner, but his angled drive was incredibly cleared off the line by goalscorer Lulic with Callejon ready to tap in.

Napoli 0-1 Lazio (1-2 agg)

Scorers: Lulic 79 (L)

Napoli: Andujar: Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Ghoulam; Inler, Gargano (Insigne 85); Gabbiadini (Callejon 72), Hamsik, Mertens (De Guzman 68); Higuain

Lazio: Berisha; Basta, De Vrij, Mauricio, Braafheid (Cavanda 83); Cataldi (Mauri 55), Biglia, Parolo; Candreva (Lulic 68), Klose, Felipe Anderson

Ref: Orsato