26th May, 2013
Lazio beat bitter city rivals Roma 1-0 to win the Italian Cup on Sunday and qualify for next season’s Europa League.
In the first ever cup final between the Roman neighbours there was more riding on it than simple silverware.
Both clubs had finished outside the European places in Serie A but Senad Lulic’s goal 20 minutes from time means the blue half of the city will enjoy European trips next season.
Roma end the campaign empty-handed and out of Europe for a second year in succession, a setback for their US owners.
Serbian star Lulic converted the only goal from a cross by Antonio Candreva which Roma keeper Bogdan Lobont could only flap at to send the blue “curva” of the stadium into raptures as the Biancocelesti moved to secure their sixth Coppa Italia.
Legendary Roma skipper Francesco Totti, 20 years with the club, had hoped to be his side’s talisman but drew a blank for the giallorosso, suffering misfortune as his freekick moments after the goal came back off the crossbar and rebounded into the grateful hands of Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti.
Sunday’s match was short on refinement with eight bookings and lacking the technique served up 24 hours earlier in the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
The first half saw a welter of petty fouls and it was only after 35 minutes that a real chance of note emerged with Lobont making a smart save from a close-range Miroslav Klose header.
Roma tried gamely to respond with Totti, in the thick of things. But as it was they were left to rue an earlier miss by US hope Michael Bradley, who snatched at a shot on 11 minutes and missed the target.