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.
The transfer mill has been churning out big names moves a-plenty this week as teams gear up for their seasons.
Rumors are coming fast and furious still, and Saturday is no exception.
[ MORE: Kolo to Celtic ]
Iceland’s run to the EURO quarterfinals may’ve opened a lot of eyes, but many already knew about Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Swansea man left for and returned from Spurs, but now could be on the move again.
The Express says Everton are willing to spend close to $33 million to lure Sigurdsson to Goodison Park. How wild have transfer fees gone in recent years? Brexit deflation aside, Sigurdsson’s moves to Swansea and Spurs cost between $9-12 million.
Eurosport reports that Arsenal is ready to go big in pursuit of Leicester City maestro Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian international is said to have been “seduced” by the Gunners and wants to make a move to North London. The fee would be approximately $55 million, and take another instrumental part of the Foxes’ PL title run from the East Midlands.
The Sun claims that four omissions from Tottenham’s recent travel list mean all are destined to be sold by Mauricio Pochettino. Clinton N'Jie, Alex Pritchard, Nabil Bentaleb and Federico Fazio are ready for your club’s bid.
Zenit Saint Petersburg coach Mircea Lucescu told Calciomercato that there are three offers in for Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel, one in the Premier League and two in Serie A. Witsel has been linked with Everton, Liverpool and Roma this summer.
Young Spanish center back Carlos Blanco Moreno cranked home a long distance goal in Saturday’s International Champions Cup match between Juventus and Melbourne Victory.
[ MORE: Kolo to Celtic ]
Ex-Barcelona man Blanco, 20, brought down a substandard clearance from Melbourne goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, took a touch, and blasted a shot over the 24-year-old Australian backstop.
Melbourne would draw level before going on to win the match in penalty kicks, but this was the highlight of the match.
Sky Sports reports that longtime Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has found a home under his former manager.
The 35-year-old center back was released by the Reds this summer, and is undergoing a medical ahead of joining Brendan Rodgers at Celtic.
[ MORE: Sunderland hires Moyes ]
Toure joined Liverpool from Manchester City in 2013, one year after Rodgers took the helm at Anfield.
The move would be Celtic’s second signing under Rodgers, as the Glasgow side added French forward Moussa Dembele from Fulham earlier this summer.
It’s a move that screams its own headlines, yet is being tipped as a precursor to a larger one.
According to Sky Sports, Juventus has purchased Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli for an incredible $103 million, equaling the second-highest transfer fee in football history (Cristiano Ronaldo).
Higuain is 28 years old, making the fee even harder to fathom despite his status as the reigning Serie A goal leader. His 36 goals in 35 matches was by far his best campaign, though he’s always been a productive striker.
[ MORE: Sunderland hires Moyes ]
Moreover, the massive money only fuels the fire that Juventus is possibly selling Paul Pogba to Manchester United or Real Madrid for what will certainly be a world record fee, eclipsing the $110 million Real paid for Gareth Bale in 2013.
Higuain was also tipped for a move to Arsenal, but that always seemed improbable given the reported fees and Arsene Wenger‘s preference for younger players.
It’s a huge risk for Juventus, even given the probability of Pogba money arriving in Turin.