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The Coppa Italia is starting to get down to the business end of the competition with tonight’s showcase quarter-final pitting Napoli against Lazio. In what proved to be an incredibly feisty and back & forth encounter, it was Napoli who were able to get themselves over the finish line and into the final four as they knocked out the holders at Sao Paolo.
A thrilling affair
It wound up being a fairly remarkable game between two of Italian football’s finest as they both swung for the fences in a desperate attempt to navigate their way through to the semis. Within less than two minutes Napoli made it clear that they were more than ready to give Lazio a bloody nose, with Lorenzo Insigne opening the scoring. Lazio looked like they’d be able to rebound from that pretty quickly after winning a penalty in the 10th minute, but Ciro Immobile was unable to convert as he slipped in the run-up to the penalty and missed as a result.
Elseid Hysaj, who had been booked for the penalty, clearly couldn’t help himself as he was quickly given a second yellow card due to another challenge on Immobile. Just minutes later, however, Lucas Leiva evened the playing field at 10 players apiece by getting himself sent off too.
Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso was clearly pleased with the result.
“We’ve been through an embarrassing period but today the lads have played a great match against the very good team who are Lazio,” said Gattuso.
“I saw a team with great spirit, you need a lot of intensity to play Lazio… We need to stay hungry and not rest on our laurels. We need to keep playing with this hunger and this venom.”
Simone Inzaghi, on the other hand, couldn’t hide his disappointment.
“Lucas got the ball and should not have been booked but he is an experienced player and should not have reacted the way he did,”
“It’s disappointing to lose a match we dominated,” said Inzaghi.
With both teams hitting the woodwork and giving it their all until the dying minutes, this was certainly an advert for why the Coppa Italia is still such a big competition in Italy.
Napoli: Ospina (7.5), Hysaj (4), Manolas (7), Di Lorenzo (7), Rui (7.5), Lobotka (6.5), Demme (6), Zielinski (7), Callejon (6.5), Milik (7), Insigne (7.5), Pena (6), Elmas (6.5), Luperto (6)
Lazio: Strakosha (6.5), Radu (7), Acerbi (6.5), Felipe (6), Lulic (7), Parolo (6.5), Lucas (4.5), Milinkovic-Savic (6.5), Lazzari (6.5), Immobile (5), Caicedo (6.5), Patric (6), Correa (6.5), Rodriguez (6)
Referee: Davide Massa
Yellow Cards: Hysaj x2, Acerbi
Red Cards: Hysaj, Leiva