While a number of major domestic cups close shop on May 27, the Coppa Italia, Italy’s domestic cup competition, chooses to wrap up its proceedings on Wednesday, May 17 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to allow the league season to hold higher priority. One club that will benefit from maintaining its consistent form is Massimilliano Allegri’s Juventus Football Club. They have the daunting task of standing up to Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. They have to hold off AS Roma in Serie A, though with relegation-threatened F.C. Crotone on the schedule this weekend, that should not be a problem.
And then there is the Coppa Italia final against Simone Inzaghi’s S.S. Lazio, in what is effectively a glorified home game for the Eagles since they share the ground with their in-city rivals. (For now at least. But that will change in 2018 when the Wolves move to the Stadio della Roma for their home matches.) Juventus are chasing a treble, and where there’s a chase for a treble, there will be toil and trouble lurking on the double. Speaking of Roma, they reminded Juventus of exactly that trouble in their 3-1 loin-chomping scalp over the weekend at this exact cup final venue.
Other than the odd setback, Juventus have had a strong year under Allegri but now is the time to double down and dominate the rest of May in the lead up to the Champions League Final in Cardiff in early June. Juventus started in the round of 16 and took on fellow Serie A side Atalanta B.C. at Juventus Stadium on Jan. 11. Despite a brave performance from La Dea, the Goddess, it was La Vecchia Signora, the Old Lady, that got the job done in a 3-2 win. Paulo Dybala (22′), Mario Mandzukic (34′) and Miralem Pjanic (75′) for Juve.
In the quarterfinals, Juventus took on AC Milan at home on Jan. 25. Dybala (10′) and Pjanic (21′) scored in a 2-1 win. Oddly enough, Milan will, as it stands, benefit from this final as both teams will pass the qualifying spot over to them, pending that they manage their next two games against Bologna (home, May 21) and Cagliari (away, May 28), two sides that are assured of safety for next season in Serie A.
A good warmup for Champions League work took place in the two-legged semifinals with fellow UCL participant S.S.C. Napoli, who will be returning to the Champions League next season with only the question of placement to be answered. In the first leg in Turin on Feb. 27, Dybala’s brace (47′, 69′) combined with Gonzalo Higuain’s 64th minute strike powered Juve to a 3-1 win. The Old Lady was forced to back her way into the final, though, as Napoli won the second leg 3-1 at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples on Apr. 5. Higuain’s brace in the 32nd and 59th minutes proved to be enough for Juve.
Like Juventus, the Eagles of Lazio started their flight to the cup final in the round of 16. A wild match with Genoa C.F.C. resulted in a 4-2 win at the Olimpico on Jan. 18. Filip Dordevic (20′), Wesley Hoedt (31′), Sergei Milinkovic-Savic (70′) and Ciro Immobile (75′) helped immobilize the now-relegation threatened Genoans. In the quarterfinals, goals from Felipe Anderson (20′) and Lucas Biglia (56′) powered Lazio to a 2-1 win over Milan at the San Siro on Jan. 31.
The Derbi della Capitale with Roma at the Olimpico was next for Lazio, and it was one that saw the Eagles also back their way into the final. In the first leg on Mar. 1, Milikovic-Savic (30′) and Immobile (78′) powered Lazio to a 2-1 win. Roma won the second leg 3-2 but their rally came too little too late as Lazio won on aggregate 4-3. And again, it was Milinkovic-Savic (37′) and Immobile (56′) that delivered for the Eagles.
Kickoff for this match is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET. This means that on our live blog of AS Monaco vs. AS Saint-Etienne, we’ll give you some live look-ins at the Coppa Italia final. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the Coppa Italia Final between Juventus and Lazio.
- Paulo Dybala will score for Juventus.
- Gonzalo Higuain will score for Juventus.
- Miralem Pjanic will score for Juventus.
- Sergei Milinkovic-Savic will score for Lazio.
- Ciro Immobile will score for Lazio.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- A player will be sent off.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- Gianluigi Buffon will make at least five saves.
- Federico Marchetti will make under five saves.
Juventus 3, Lazio 2
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