Juve bags record 12th Italian Cup

Juve bags record 12th Italian Cup

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Juventus team celebrates with the trophy after winning the Italian Cup soccer final against Lazio at Rome’s Olympic Stadium Wednesday. — AP
Juventus team celebrates with the trophy after winning the Italian Cup soccer final against Lazio at Rome’s Olympic Stadium Wednesday. — AP

ROME — Juventus beat Lazio to win a third successive Italian Cup final as goals from Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci kept it on course for a treble this season with a 2-0 victory in the Olympic Stadium Wednesday.

The Turin side, which is on the verge of winning a sixth successive Serie A championship before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3, won the domestic cup for a record 12th time.

“Compliments to the lads for what they did in the first half and for coming through a defensive test in the second,” coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters.

Allegri quickly turned his thoughts to the weekend when Juventus can clinch Serie A with a win over Crotone having missed its chance in a 3-1 defeat Sunday away to AS Roma, which is four points behind with two fixtures remaining.

“We’ve won the first title, now we want to clinch the second, Sunday against Crotone, who have taken 17 points from the last seven matches,” he said.

“It’s going to be a difficult match. We’ll have to play a mean game like this evening’s.”

Juventus, which beat Lazio in the final two years ago, settled the match in the opening 25 minutes with Alves putting them ahead in the 12th from a long, high cross by fellow Brazilian Alex Sandro.

The right back’s volley was not as sweet as his goal in the Champions League semifinal second leg win over Monaco, but it proved just as effective, bouncing awkwardly on its way past goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and inside the far post.

Lazio, which had hit the post in the sixth minute through striker Balde Keita, conceded a soft second goal 13 minutes later when Alex Sandro flicked on Paulo Dybala’s corner and Bonucci nipped into the six-yard box to knock the ball in.

Lazio, which share the Olympic Stadium with AS Roma as a home ground in Serie A, made a better start to the second half and substitute Felipe Anderson’s low shot brought a good save from Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy Neto.

Neto then clawed a Ciro Immobile header off the line after Gonzalo Higuain had been involved in two chances for Juventus that went begging.

Romero stars in United’s 0-0 draw at Southampton

Sergio Romero showed Manchester United will be in safe hands in the Europa League final by saving an early penalty and producing many other great stops in a 0-0 draw at Southampton in the Premier League Wednesday.

Filling in for the rested David de Gea, the Argentina goalkeeper tipped aside Manolo Gabbiadini’s sixth-minute spot-kick that was awarded for a handball against Eric Bailly even though video replays the contact was outside the area.

Romero was busy early in the second half as he preserved his clean sheet for United, which fielded a slew of fringe players — including Wayne Rooney — a week out from the Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm.

The game had little significance for either side, with United guaranteed to finish in sixth place and Southampton currently in eighth place and unable to finish any higher. — Agencies

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