Lazio edge Juve to Cup final
Lazio beat Juventus 2-1 at Turin's Stadio Olimpico to reach their first Coppa Italia final since 2004 with a 4-2 aggregate victory. A stunning strike from on-loan Argentina forward Mauro Zarate and a deflected effort from Serbian full-back Aleksandar Kolarov put Lazio in the driving seat before Alessandro Del Piero's late consolation.
Perhaps more concerned with finishing second in Serie A than reaching the Cup final, Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri made a number of changes to his starting line-up, even though the Old Lady of Turin were chasing a 2-1 first leg deficit.
Juve lined up with the unfamiliar centre-back pairing of Olof Mellberg and Lorenzo Ariaudo while Del Piero, Pavel Nedved and Mauro Camoranesi all started on the bench. They were made to pay as Zarate hit a spectacular curler into the top corner on 37 minutes to open the scoring.
Ranieri said his side would now concentrate on finishing second. "We wanted to qualify for the final and we tried to win but we didn't manage it," he insisted. "Now we have to continue to do well and try to secure that second place."
Kolarov doubled the visitors' advantage on 52 minutes in fortuitous fashion as his speculative shot glanced off Zdenek Grygera and spun over the despairing dive of Gianluigi Buffon.
Ranieri responded by throwing on Del Piero, Nedved and Camoranesi and after David Trezeguet had forced Lazio goalkeeper Nestor Muslera into a fine save, Juve pulled a goal back on 64 minutes. Camoranesi created it, crossing to the back post where Del Piero lost his marker, took the ball on his chest and volleyed home left footed.
But that was as good as it got for Juve and the final whistle was greeted with a round of jeers. Lazio will now meet either Inter or Sampdoria in next month's final. The pair meet at the San Siro on Thursday with Sampdoria holding a 3-0 first leg lead.