A 71st minute strike by Senad Lulic was all Lazio needed to secure a 1-0 over AS Roma in the Coppa Italia version of the Derby della Capitale.
It was a brutal, hard-fought match full of biting tackles, plenty of chances on goal and 8 yellow cards (five in the first half). The game winner came with 19 minutes to play when Antonio Candreva found Stefano Mauri who gave it back to the midfielder sprinting down the right side of the pitch.
Candreva tore into the box and ripped a bending cross along the 6 yard box that Roma goal-keeper Bogdan Lobont managed to get a finger on but it wasn’t enough as Lulic had timed his back-post run to perfection.
Two minutes later Roma looked like they might have their leveler through the ageless Francisco Totti, who’s curling free-kick caused confusion in the box and bounced off the ground forcing Lazio goal-keeper Federico Marchetti into a fine save.
Lulic got things started in the 3rd minute when his strike from 22 yards forced Lobont to parry the shot. Lazio striker Miroslav Klose was quick to the rebound but couldn’t convert before being closed down by the Roma defense.
After Lazio looked to have firm control over the match, things swung Roma’s way as Totti unleashed from 25 yards out but Marchetti saved easily. In the 10th minute, American Michael Bradley nearly broke the deadlock as Marquinhos’ cross from the left side found Eric Lamela, who dumped off to the unrushing Bradley but his far-post shot went just wide.
Seven minutes later and Lamela tried his luck from 23 yards out but Marchetti was up to the task. In the 34th minute, Klose was back at it with a ladder-climbing header that Lobont did well to parry before his defense cleared.
Stuck in a 0-0 deadlock going in to half-time the fierce-paced match slowed before the 67th minute when Lulic delivered a 40 yard cross to Mauri at the corner of the 6, who fired the ball back across goal but the out-stretching Klose couldn’t get his foot on it.
Four minutes later, Lulic fired home from close range to give Lazio the lead and the ensuing free-kick by Totti’s was well saved by Marchetti to hand the Biancocelesti its sixth Coppa Italia title.
Sunday’s early morning London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane saw a lack of finish, as the Blues and Spurs drew 0-0.
Spurs stay fifth, with 25 points, while Chelsea moves up a spot to 14th with 15 points.
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Starting up top for Diego Costa, Pedro made a razor-thin run through the Spurs back line, but the through ball’s timing was off.
Asmir Begovic knocked down a tricky, low, bouncing shot from Harry Kane as the game hit 18 minutes.
Eden Hazard leapt above Jan Vertonghen to head a looping cross from Oscar just over the goal. And Pedro had a chance deflected over goal moments later.
It was Spurs’ chance to score off a cross in the 27th minute, but Son Heung-min’s header of a Harry Kane pass was well-parried by Begovic. Then Mousa Dembele forced the Chelsea keeper into a stretching horizontal save for a corner.
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The second half’s opening stages left plenty to be desired, with little happening aside from some questionable challenges. An injury to Ryan Mason brought Erik Lamela on for Spurs.
A 1-2 saw Lamela spring Son for a 64th minute chance, but Begovic was again there for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard smashed a volley on goal in the 67th minute. The superb cross came from Branislav Ivanovic, but Hugo Lloris was positioned to slap Hazard’s shot wide.
Costa did not enter the game, and comically tossed his warm-up bib over his head in the direction of Jose Mourinho. Like the chances in this match, it missed its mark,
West Brom looks to build on its win over Arsenal as it continues a tough run of games with a visit to the Boleyn Ground to face West Ham United on Saturday (Watch live, 9:05 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra).
The Baggies have faced Leicester City, Manchester United and the Gunners in their last three matches, and start with Saido Berahino and Rickie Lambert on the bench.
It’s Diafra Sakho up top for the Hammers, as West Ham would like to get back on track after picking up just one point in its last three.
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West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid (c), Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang, Kouyate, Zarate, Lanzini, Moses, Sakho. Subs: Spiegel (GK), Tomkins, Song, Cullen, Antonio, Carroll, Jelavic.
West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans, Morrison, Fletcher (c), Yacob, McClean, Sessegnon, Rondon. Subs: Lindegaard; Gardner, McManaman, Lambert, Anichebe, Berahino, Chester.
Tottenham Hotspur welcome Chelsea to White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra) with Jose Mourinho’s side looking for a big win.
Mauricio Pochettino‘s Spurs are unbeaten in 12 games heading into this London derby but only traveled back from Europa League action in Azerbaijan on Thursday night.
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Chelsea are looking to secure back-to-back PL wins for the first time this season with Mourinho’s side languishing
In teams news Spurs bring in Ryan Mason for the suspended Dele Alli. Chelsea start with Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill in central defense as John Terry couldn’t recover from an ankle injury. Diego Costa has been dropped with Eden Hazard playing up front in a false nine.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Mason; Eriksen, Son, Dembele; Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Carroll, Lamela, Onomah, Clinton
Chelsea: Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Pedro; Hazard. Subs: Amelia, Djilobodji, Baba Rahman, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Diego Costa
Willian has scored six goals for Chelsea this season, with all six coming from free kicks.
Four of those have been scored in the Champions League, as the Brazilian has tied the record for the most free-kick goals in a single UCL campaign.
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Willian is tied with his fellow Brazilian Juninho, known as one of the deadliest set-piece takers of all-time, who scored four times for Lyon during the 2005-06 campaign.
When asked about the possibility of his record being broken, Juninho was glad it would be by another Brazilian player, and said Willian will likely surpass him in the coming matches.
It’s good it’s a Brazilian, and from this new generation of good players we have.
It is very gratifying for me because when I scored these four goals, no one said anything.
I’m being remembered by what Willian has achieved, and I think he has everything to beat the record. The Champions League has barely reached half way and Chelsea still have a few more games to play.
Willian has converted 6 of 12 free kicks this season, scoring at an unheard-of 50-percent clip. All of his goals have come from almost the exact same spot on the pitch, about 20-25 yards out at the corner of the box to the keepers right.
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Chelsea’s next Champions League match is on December 9 at Stamford Bridge against Porto. The Blues need a draw to advance into the knockout round.