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Lazio win shootout to lift Italian Cup

Lazio lifted the Coppa Italia for the fifth time by beating Sampdoria 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the final at the Stadio Olimpico, earning themselves a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League.

Lazio took the lead after only four minutes when Mauro Zárate found the far corner with a fine right-foot shot from wide on the left. Sampdoria responded well but on 28 minutes it was Lazio who went close to scoring the second when Sampdoria goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi was forced to make two consecutive saves, diving to his right after a powerful left-foot shot from distance by Alexandar Kolarov before denying Goran Pandev on the rebound.

Two minutes later, the Blucerchiati equalised when Antonio Cassano sent in a cross from the left that Marius Stankevičius headed to Giampaolo Pazzini, who nodded in from close range. Two minutes after the break Cassano found space again on the left and delivered a low cross which forced Kolarov to clear off the goal line with Fernando Muslera beaten.

Sampdoria had the clearest opportunity to score in extra time when Cassano dribbled past two Lazio defenders on the right and found Pazzini at the far post, only for Lorenzo De Silvestri to slide in and deny the striker, who had the goal at his mercy. In the shoot-out, Muslera saved the first penalty from Cassano, while Tommaso Rocchi hit the post for Lazio. Muslera then stopped Sampdoria’s seventh penalty from Hugo Campagnaro and Ousmane Dabo kept his nerve to give Lazio the trophy. “It’s a great reward for a year of great work and sacrifice,” said a tearful Lazio coach Delio Rossi. “A beautiful day for all the people of Lazio.”

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