Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Wednesday 20th May, 2015, 19:45 GMT
Juventus meet Lazio in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final, looking to complete a domestic double and secure the second part of a historic treble. With a fourth successive Serie A title comfortably in the bag, Juve could be forgiven for focusing on next month’s UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona. But first, Massimiliano Allegri’s side must turn their attentions to tasting glory in the Coppa for the first time in 20 years. In 1995, Juve defeated Parma 3-0 over two legs to lift the trophy for the ninth time, but since that success the Turin giants have just three losing final appearances to show for their efforts.
Lazio, meanwhile, have won the Coppa five times in the intervening period, most recently in 2013 when Senad Lulic’s goal saw off fierce rivals Roma 1-0. Stefano Pioli’s men are third in Serie A and look well placed to at least return to the Champions League qualifiers, with next weekend’s derby with Roma looking likely to decide who takes the second automatic spot behind Juve. Their form of late has been mixed, with just two wins from their past six league outings, although Saturday’s 1-0 win at Sampdoria was a timely boost ahead of meeting Juve at their home ground, Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
The Old Lady come into the clash on the back of a 2-1 win over Inter Milan on Saturday night, which was an impressive result considering they rested a number of key players with one eye on Wednesday’s encounter. Lazio haven’t been able to enjoy such luxuries and manager Stefano Pioli believes the club have been punished for their cup run. The final with Juventus was due to take place on June 7, but the Bianconeria s progress in the Champions League final saw the date switched to May 20 and that hasn’t gone down well in the Lazio camp. Lazio reached the showpiece with a 2-1 aggregate success over Napoli, while Juve advanced after comfortably seeing off Fiorentina 4-2 over two legs.
Team news and tactical brief
The Bianconeri could be on course for a historic treble, while the Biancocelesti are in the hunt for their second Coppa Italia success in three seasons. Altogether, Massimiliano Allegria s men have nine Coppa Italia honours to their name, while Stefano Piolia s Lazio have six. Stephan Lichtsteiner will be confident in his ability to minimise Candreva and Anderson’s effect through careful handling. The Switzerland international is incredibly consistent and never puts a foot wrong, and his reliability makes him a fearsome obstacle on the path towards goal.Patrice Evra has progressed over the course of the season to become one of Juventusa finest left backs of recent times, and is set to take on any opponent, as displayed by his assured performances against Real Madrid.Eliminating Lazioa s main threats out wide would be a significant way of strengthening his teama s chances in this fixture, a duty which Evra and Lichtsteiner will have to take with a typically studious approach.
Alvaro Morata was sent off during the second leg of that semi-final, meaning he will miss Wednesday’s game. Aside from Morata’s suspension, Allegri has no new injury worries. After rotating for Serie A duty, Juventus will surely revert to their best XI for the Coppa Italia final. A couple of suspensions could also take away any doubts Massimilaino Allegri may have in midifield and attack. As usual, Marco Storari will defend Juventus’ goal in the final. 38-year-old Storari has appeared in only a handful of fixtures this season, but has remarkably provided stellar performances in all of them. Arturo Vidal simply relishes a midfield battle, and having a trophy firmly on the line only serves to increase the tenacity with which he performs. He could be engaged in a tussle with Lazioa s Marco Parolo, who has seen a spate of impressive performances attributed to his name in recent weeks.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2):Storari(Gk);Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Bonucci, Evra; Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal; Pereyra; Tevez, Llorente
After a few games without his best central defender, Stefano Pioli welcomes Stefan de Vrij back. In the eyes of many, De Vrij has been one of the signings of the season, and he will be looking to continue a fine debut season by shutting down one of the leaguea s finest attackers. Danilo Cataldi and Stefano Mauri are both expected to sit out given the strong competition for starting spots in midfield. Lucas Biglia will be replaced by Cristian Ledesma in front of the defence. 36-year-old Klose is still a prominent outlet in the vast majority of matches, a testament to his ability to defy the aging process.
Lazioa s Brazilian starlet Felipe Anderson has displayed his ability to transform a game repeatedly so far this season, and will be hoping that his performances can help his side towards domestic victory. The 22-year-old has contributed to 17 league goals this season, and has proved himself to be an integral part of a Lazio side who have surprised many this campaign. Antonio Candreva has returned to scintillating form, and his current confidence will give him the belief that he can tear his way through a defence even as tight as Juventusa . Candreva is a key outlet for Piolia s side, and his linkup with all of Felipe Anderson, Miroslav Klose and Filip Djordjevic is a crucial feature of his sidea s performances.Parolo will undoubtedly look to be the driving force from midfield by making surging runs, and will be instrumental in instigating passing moves.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):Marchetti(Gk); Basta, De Vrij, Mauricio, Radu; Ledesma, Parolo, Mauri; Candreva, Anderson, Klose
- Juventus have been winning at both half time and full time in 5 of their last 6 matches against Lazio in all competitions.
- Juventus have won 5 of their last 6 matches against Lazio in all competitions.
- Lazio have won 5 of their last 6 matches in Coppa Italia.
Players to Watch Out For
Carlos Tevez (Juventus)
The Argentine has rattled home a magnificent 27 goals this season across all competitions, and continues to inflict serious worry on the minds of the Juventus coaching hierarchy by being linked with a move elsewhere. Despite only featuring in a mere 53 minutes of Coppa Italia action thus far, an electric performance from Tevez has come to be expected by fans and teammates alike.
Miroslav Klose (Lazio)
The passing years have not weighed heavy on German goal machine Miroslav Klose, who will contest the 14th final of his storied career for Lazio against Juventus in the Coppa Italia this coming Wednesday, just 20 days short of his 37th birthday.
Juventus* 2a 2 Lazio (On Penalties)
Juventus have four matches left to play this season, but only two matter. This is the first, while the Champions League final will wrap up a memorable season for the Bianconeri. Lazio started their tough end to the season by beating Sampdoria in the league, thus strengthening their position in the top-3, and this could lift some of the pressure off them. Juventus will come into this game the more rested and with fewer distractions, while Lazio could easily see their season fall apart between here and the derby. The importance of lifting a trophy may be overshadowed by the need to secure Champions League qualification through the league, but nothing points to Lazio resting on their laurels. The Biancocelesti could balance out the gap between themselves and Juventus as they play at home, despite the venue being deemed “neutral”. The atmosphere could favour them, but Juventus have proven they know how to face a tough audience.
Blast From the Past
Sergio Floccari scored a dramatic injury time winner to seal final berth for Lazio against Juventus last time these two teams faced each other in the Coppa Italia semifinal at the Stadio Olimpico in 2013.