Italian Cup title puts Juventus in line for treble
ABS-CBN Sports on May 18, 2017 10:14 AM
Juventus' Alex Sandro and teammates celebrate after winning the Italian Cup soccer final match between Lazio and Juventus, at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Juventus won 2-0. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
ROME (AP) — Juventus secured the first title of a possible treble by winning the Italian Cup with an authoritative 2-0 victory over Lazio in the final on Wednesday.
Dani Alves gave Juventus an early lead in the first half with a volley following a long cross from Alex Sandro. Then Leonardo Bonucci was left unmarked to tap in following a corner in the 25th minute.
"Compliments to the lads for a great match. We played an extraordinary first half," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
"We really need to finish off the Serie A title now."
Juventus can clinch the title this weekend, before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final on June 3.
The Bianconeri became the first club to win three straight Italian Cups and brought their record title collection to 12 in the competition.
After being beaten by Roma on Sunday, its first Serie A loss since January, the victory gave Juventus a boost of confidence for the European final against defending champion Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We got things wrong on Sunday, and it's been a wake-up call for us. It's helped us rediscover our qualities," Bonucci said.
Italy President Sergio Mattarella awarded Juventus the trophy and then confetti in the green, white and red colors of the country's flag was launched into the air inside the Stadio Olimpico.
As has been the case for most of the season in Cup matches, Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon was rested and Neto played in goal.
Lazio took the initiative at the start when Keita Balde Diao hit the post from a sharp angle.
But Juventus responded immediately with a long shot from Gonzalo Higuain that Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha had to punch away.
Alves scored five minutes later and Paulo Dybala also threatened, along with Higuain, before Bonucci's goal.
Lazio striker Ciro Immobile missed with a header that went just wide shortly after the half-hour mark and also came close early in the second half when he was denied with a quick-reflex save by Neto from one yard (meter).
Immobile missed another close-range attempt with 11 minutes to go and soon Juventus was celebrating.
"It's upsetting not to win a final but we've had an amazing season," Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi said. "We already qualified for the Europa League, we beat Roma in the semifinals and we're in fourth place in the league."
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf