Lazio beats Napoli 1-0 to advance to Italian Cup final
NAPLES, Italy (AP) — A late goal from substitute Senad Lulic gave Lazio a 1-0 victory over Napoli on Wednesday and a place in the Italian Cup final against Juventus.
Lazio advanced 2-1 on aggregate and will seek its third title in the last seven years in the June 7 final at its home stadium.
In the 79th minute, Lulic was left unmarked to steer home a cross from Felipe Anderson from inside the box.
Napoli argued in vain that Lazio forward Miroslav Klose was offside at the start of the move.
Juventus overcame a first-leg deficit with a 3-0 win at Fiorentina on Tuesday.
Lazio is also performing well in Serie A, where it has won seven straight matches and is challenging city rival Roma for second place.
“Juventus is definitely the strongest squad in Italy, but if we keep playing like this it will be a match,” Lulic said.
For Napoli, it was another disappointing result after a poor run in the league that has seen the southern club drop to sixth place and out of the Champions and Europa League spots.
Earlier, last-place Parma beat Udinese 1-0 in a Serie A match that was postponed from February, when crisis-hit Parma was unable to provide basic stadium services like lighting and security.
Silvestre Varela scored in the 70th with a long shot that appeared to be an attempt at a cross, surprising Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.
The victory marks a brief run of good results for Parma, which held Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro on Saturday.
The closest either side came to scoring in the first half at the San Paolo stadium came when Napoli’s Manolo Gabbiadini hit the post with a free kick in the 29th.
On the hour mark, Klose argued for a penalty following contact in the area and then Gonzalo Higuain wasted a chance at the other end when he couldn’t get a shot off with only the goalkeeper to beat.
In the 76th, Napoli goalkeeper Mariano Andujar did well to save a header from Lulic.
A minute later, Napoli captain Marek Hamsik sent a shot just wide from long distance.
Anderson, the Brazil midfielder who has developed into Lazio’s most dangerous player, then burst past several defenders before providing the cross for Lulic’s goal.
Lulic, a Bosnia international, preserved the lead when he cleared a shot from Lorenzo Insigne off the line in the 88th.