The Coppa Italia is the national cup of Italy. It takes place every year under the jurisdiction of FIGC (Italian Football Federation) and is organised by the Lega Calcio (Football League).
Coppa Italia 2015
An extra-time strike from Alessandro Matri earned Juventus a historic tenth Coppa Italia success and domestic double with a 2-1 win over Lazio on an incredible night in the capital.
Quick-fire goals within the opening 11 minutes by captains Stefan Radu and Giorgio Chiellini set the tone for an entertaining final, with both sides having first-half chances to go into the break with the upper hand.
The second 45 minutes, however, produced a much more edgy affair, characterised by plenty of physicality in the midfield battle and precious little chances on goal.
Despite the lack of clear-cut opportunities, the Bianconeri thought they had sealed a last-gasp winner when substitute Alessandro Matri sent Andrea Pirlo’s inviting pass into the back of the net, only to see his effort chalked off for offside.
After being dealt a let-off of their own when Filip Djordjevic saw a dangerous strike bounce back off both posts, Juventus edged in front courtesy of a close-range finish from Matri, who gleefully swept past Etrit Berisha six minutes into extra-time with what proved to be the eventual winner.
Both finalists began with plenty of energy but it was Lazio who seized an early advantage with just four minutes on the clock. A Danilo Cataldi delivery from the right-hand side did the damage, enabling captain Radu to rise above his marker and plant a firm header into the top corner.
The early opener had a galvanising effect on the Bianconeri who levelled matters just five minutes later. An Andrea Pirlo free-kick towards the far post was headed back across the face of goal by Patrice Evra, with Chiellini on hand to do the rest courtesy of an acrobatic finish from close range.
Two early strikes and a high tempo to the game gave the impression that the chances would keep flowing for both sides, but that was not the case as the encounter settled down into a more moderate pace.
Guided by the perennial threat of Felipe Anderson on the counter, Lazio began to enjoy the better of proceedings as the match edged past the midway point of the first half and could have regained their lead through a Marco Parolo snap shot from the edge of the area that flashed just wide of the upright on 32 minutes.
This sparked a couple of Bianconeri chances before the interval. On 40 minutes, Tevez went close to making a decent connection with Evra’s cutback after a slide rule pass by fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba had sent the left-back bombing into the box, eventually sending his effort over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, heavy Tevez pressing on Berisha forced the goalkeeper to hurriedly clear his lines, breathing a sigh of relief when the Argentine’s block dropped wide of the upright.
The start of the second half brought more intensity from both sides, Pogba and Parolo both trying their luck at goal, but clear-cut opportunities remained at a premium as the midfield battle ruled supreme.
With the combative affair now into its final 15 minutes of normal time, Massimiliano Allegri replaced Pogba with Roberto Pereyra, who moved to the right of the central midfield three with Vidal switching to the left.
A golden opportunity to pounce at the death fell in Lazio’s favour with 84 minutes on the clock, but Djordjevic was thwarted by an ever-alert Storari, who raced off his line to prevent the substitute converting from an acute angle.
Moments later, Matri, on in place of Fernando Llorente, thought he had netted a late winner when he swept Pirlo’s delightful through ball past Berisha, but the linesman had other ideas, ruling his effort out for offside.
The start of extra-time saw Djordjevic once again in the thick of the action, leaving Bianconeri hearts in mouths when his fierce left-footed strike bounced off both posts before rolling away to safety, but the black and white faithful would soon be gasping again, this time for a different reason entirely.
A quick counter attack saw an opportunity presented to Tevez and, after having his shot blocked, Matri was on hand to sweep the ball beyond Berisha with a shot that proved too hot to handle on 96 minutes.
The Blucerchiati threw bodies forward in a bid to get back into the game, but the Bianconeri also had their chances to break on the counter. This particular scenario earned them a free-kick from a dangerous position, yet Pirlo was unable to catch Berisha unawares at his near post with 11 minutes of extra-time to play.
Despite a few flutters as Lazio upped the pressure at the end, Juventus held out to celebrate a richly deserved triumph, with Chiellini rounding off a sensational evening’s work by lifting the trophy in front of jubilant Bianconeri supporters.
One domestic double down, now time to push for an incredible treble.