Lazio bag Coppa crown

Lazio beat Sampdoria 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw to win the Coppa Italia at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday and qualify for next season's Europa League.

Lazio goalkeeper Nestor Muslera saved two penalties in the shoot-out, which went to sudden death after both teams missed one each of their first five. Frenchman Ousmane Dabo scored the winning penalty after Hugo Campagnaro had seen his shot saved.

Argentine forward Mauro Zarate had given Lazio a fourth minute lead but Giampaolo Pazzini equalised just past the half hour mark. "I've waited so long for a success such as this one and my thoughts go out to the players who deserve this after a season of so many sacrifices," said a tearful Lazio coach Delio Rossi. "This (the tears) shows how much passion I have for my work, I'm someone who has wanted results for so long."

It was Lazio's fifth Cup success and first since 2004. Sampdoria won the last of their four cups in 1994. But their coach Walter Mazzarri was proud of his team's efforts. "We did justice to this match, it was a final worthy of its name," he said. "It's very disappointing to lose a final, I'm sorry for our fans. But that's life."

I've waited so long for a success such as this one and my thoughts go out to the players who deserve this after a season of so many sacrifices.
Lazio coach Delio Rossi after lifting the Coppa Italia

The home side were in the ascendancy for the first half-hour and should have doubled their advantage on 28 minutes. Castellazzi spilled a long-range strike from Aleksandar Kolarov and Macedonia forward Goran Pandev was there to mop up the loose ball but Castellazzi redeemed himself by crucially making a close-range block.

The importance of that save was evident three minutes later as Sampdoria equalised through Pazzini. Antonio Cassano sent a deep cross over from the left to Lithuanian Marius Stankevicius at the back post and his header across goal was diverted in by Pazzini.

Sampdoria came close on the stroke of half-time but Muslera tipped over Cassano's fierce free-kick. On the hour, it was Lazio who threatened again but the late arriving Pasquale Foggia couldn't control his volley from Pandev's cross.

Both sides then failed to create anything significant for the remaining half hour and even less so in the 30 minutes of extra-time. Penalties were needed to separate the sides and Muslera made a good start saving from Cassano.

Lazio's advantage was wiped out when Tommaso Rocchi hit the post and saw the ball run across the face of goal and away to safety. But then in sudden death Muslera saved from Campagnaro and Dabo stepped up to stroke home the ball and claim the cup.