MILAN (Reuters) – Lazio reached the Coppa Italia final and ended AC Milan’s hopes of snapping an eight-year trophy drought when a breakaway goal from Joaquin Correa gave them a 1-0 win at a restless San Siro in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.
The Argentine struck the only goal of a tense 180 minutes to earn Lazio a place in the final for the third time in five years and heap more pressure on Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso.
Milan’s last silverware was the Serie A title in 2011 and they are now under more pressure than ever to finish in the top four of the league and qualify for the Champions League next season.
“We’ve beaten Milan and Inter in this stadium and it’s fair that we are in the final,” said Lazio coach Filippo Inzaghi, whose side knocked out Inter on penalties in the quarter-finals and will face either Atalanta or Fiorentina.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, sent off in the first half of the 2-1 home defeat by bottom club Chievo in Serie A on Saturday, this time limped off with an ankle injury in the 15th minute but his team kept going.
Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha did well to turn away Davide Calabria’s low drive just before the half hour, one of only two Milan shots on target compared to 10 for Lazio.
Bastos fired wide for Lazio at the end of the first half and Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina had to be quick off his line to block Correa’s solo run.
Lazio came out stronger after the break and, after several warnings, they went ahead.
A quick break out of defence found Ciro Immobile, he stormed forward from the halfway line and fed the ball to Correa who slipped his shot between goalkeeper Reina’s legs in the 58th minute.
Milan rarely looked like recovering although Patrick Cutrone had a goal disallowed for offside.
“Reina was outstanding, we deserved to be ahead by halftime and Strakosha was barely troubled during the match,” added Inzaghi. “We left the disappointment of the Chievo result behind us and came here with great character.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)