Lazio defeat Atalanta, capture 7th Coppa Italia title

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Rome, May 16 (IANS) Lazio scored a pair of late goals in a 2-0 victory over Atalanta in the final of the Coppa Italia, a victory that gives the Rome-based club its seventh title in that annual cup competition.

Atalanta had been a thorn in Lazio’s side this season, defeating them twice during the Serie A season and ruining that club’s hopes of earning a spot in next season’s Champions League with a 3-1 away victory earlier this month at Stadio Olimpico.

But the Biancocelesti finally turned the tables on Wednesday night at that same venue, reports Efe news agency.

In a match that featured heavy doses of physical play and overly cautious tactics, the visitors were the slightly more offensive side in the early going.

Atalanta also came closest to getting on the scoreboard before the intermission, with Dutchman Marten de Roon striking the post on a shot at around the half-hour mark.

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But Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi jump-started his team’s attack with a couple of key substitutions in the second half, first sending on Felipe Caicedo in place of a quiet Ciro Immobile in the 66th minute and then replacing Luis Alberto with Serbian Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in 79th minute.

Lazio began to dominate the action, although one foray at the other end of the field nearly resulted in a goal when Atalanta’s Papu Gomez hit the woodwork with a shot.

The home side, however, finally took over the game down the stretch.

Just three minutes after taking the field, Milinkovic-Savic rose up to head a corner kick by Lucas Leiva inside the far post.

Atalanta responded by making three substitutions in search of offense, but instead it was Lazio that struck on the counter-attack.

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On the play, Joaquin Correa ran the length of the field before eluding a pair of defenders and firing a shot that bounced off of Atalanta’s Robin Gosens and into the back of the net in the 90th minute.

Despite the loss, Atalanta still have a chance of booking a berth in the 2019-2020 Champions League group stage.

–IANS

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