Lucas Leiva was the hero as he bagged the winning spot kick for Lazio as they dumped Inter out the Coppa Italia, after the two sides couldn’t be separated with the match finishing 1-1, after an error-ridden, but mesmerising, 120 minutes at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the quarter-final.
Both sides seemed to struggle in the opening stages to get their rhythm and break through two solid backline, but as the time wore on mistakes were the order of the day though finishing was not, and it took until 108 minutes for the deadlock to be broken as Ciro Immobile’s deflected shot squirmed into the back of the net.
Then as all hope looked lost Inter were awarded a last minute spot kick which Mauro Icardi duly put past Thomas Strakosha to send the Meazza wild and set up a penalty shootout.
Lautaro Martinez and Durmisi both missed, and on the final penalty for Inter, Radja Nainggolan had his strike saved by Strakosha, only for Lucas Leiva to bag the winning penalty, and set up a semi-final with AC Milan.
Neither side had a shot on target nor were particularly dangerous in the opening quarter of the game, though Lazio had more possession and looked the more likely, they were unable to adequately test Samir Handanovic.
A quick counter attack from Lazio should have produced a the opening goal as Luis Alberto carried the ball before feeding Joaquin Correa, who in turn picked out the Spaniard unmarked on the edge of the area, but his side-footed effort lacked power and trickled into Handanovic’s arms.
Lazio were getting more and more dangerous as the half wore on, and Milan Skriniar brilliantly blocked a Correa header, then Handanovic denied Ciro Immobile with an excellent save.
After the break, Handanovic denied Luis Alberto with an acrobatic stop from his curling effort, then at the other end Thomas Strakosha spilt a Joao Mario strike straight into the path of Antonio Candreva who put his shot from a yard out, high and wide, much to the frustration of the Inter fans.
Matias Vecino headed just over, and in the dying moments substitute Felipe Caicedo found himself one-on-one with Handanovic, but again the Inter goalkeeper pulled off a miracle save.
Inter should have won it with one minute to go in time added on as first Mattep Politano drilled straight at Strakosha from three yards out, then Lautaro Martinez hooked the rebound over the bar.
In extra time, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic appeared to push Mauro Icardi in the back, but the penalty appeals were turned down by referee Rosario Abisso after consulting VAR.
Early in the second half of extra time a series of one-twos between Immobile and Caicedo saw the Italian collect the ball in the penalty area, and what looked like an innocuous shot took a deflection which wrong footed Handanovic to end up in the back of the net.
That looked to be the winning goal, but Milinkovic-Savic took out … on the edge of the penalty area and after consulting VAR, the referee pointed to the spot. Icardi stepped up and with the final kick of the game scored to ensure penalty kicks.
Nainggolan missed the decisive spot kick, as Lucas Leiva gave the away side a date with Milan in the semi-final.