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Juven­tus secure third successive Italian Cup

Updated May 19, 2017 06:59am
ROME: Juventus players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Italian Cup final against Lazio at the Olympic stadium.—AFP
ROME: Juventus players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Italian Cup final against Lazio at the Olympic stadium.—AFP

ROME: Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci struck one apiece as treble-chasing Juven­tus secured a record third successive Italian Cup with a 2-0 victory over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Juventus, who won a league and Cup double the past two seasons, can clinch a record sixth consecutive Serie A title — and a record third double — with victory at home to Crotone on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men also face Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on June — and on this showing the Spanish giants will have cause for concern.

Days after seeing their title celebrations put on hold at the Stadio Olimpico following a 3-1 defeat to Lazio’s city rivals Roma, Juventus were back their formidable best.

And Allegri said he expects more of the same on Sunday.

“This win has given us a boost for Sunday. We absolutely have to wrap up the championship,” said Allegri.

“The lads delivered a great technical and defensive performance that has more than made up for last week against Roma.” Bonucci said: “Sunday is another final for us. We have to secure our second objective of the season, then we’ll all start looking to Cardiff.” Lazio, whose last trophy came from their 2013 Cup triumph, had hoped to emulate Roma by sending Juventus back to Turin with their tails between their legs.

But despite a battling display by Simone Inzaghi’s men, Lazio spurned their few chances, and were outplayed by the slick, passing play inspired by Argentinian playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Inzaghi refused to fault his players, saying: “There’s some bitterness, but we came up against a top Juve side.

“I’m sorry we haven’t given joy to the fans and the players, but we have to look positively at our season.

“We’ve qualified for the Europa League with three games to spare and, apart from that, reaching the final is the best thing we’ve done this season.” The sizeable Lazio support were given hope in the opening minutes when Keita Balde saw his shot from a tight angle, which evaded ‘keeper Norberto Neto, come off the post.

The scare was enough to jolt Juve into life.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017