A lone strike from Joaquin Correa was enough to earn Lazio a 1-0 win over AC Milan in their Coppa Italia semi-final second leg.
The pair had played out a 0-0 draw in Rome, and as a result, Lazio will now face either Atalanta or Fiorentina in the final at the Stadio Olimpico on May 15.
Much of the build up to the game focussed on the Lazio fans who unfurled a banner in support of Italy’s former facist dictator Benito Mussolini in the centre of Milan, while outside the ground there were racist chants directed towards Rossoneri midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The behaviour of the Lazio fans continued inside the ground as they booed both Bakayoko and Franck Kessie each time they touched the ball, also directing monkey chants at the pair, while a number of inflatable bananas were visible in the away section.
It was a war of attrition at the start of the game as nether side were able to fashion any clear cut chances. The closest Milan came was a blocked Suso effort from distance, and a tame effort from Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was easily claimed by Pepe Reina.
A couple of speculative efforts from the edge of the Milan penalty area, first from Immobile then Joaquin Correa, were gathered by Reina. While at the other end. Thomas Strakosha had to make a fine save to deny Davide Calabria’s curling effort.
Just before the break Suso found himself free on the edge of the box but scuffed his shot wide of goal, then at the other end, Bastos the fired inches off target after the ball fell to him in the six-yard box from a freekick, and finally Reina made a wonderful save to deny Correa.
The first real opportunity of the second half came Lazio’s way as a poor clearance from Alessio Romagnoli allowed Correa to be played in, he then cut back to Lucas Leiva on the edge of the penalty area, and his shot was parried out for a corner. Bastos headed the set piece just wide.
Correa had a strike from 20 yards out saved by Reina, but found the target just before the hour mark. A quick counter attack from the Biancocelesti was led by Immobile and he found Correa who slipped the ball under Reina.
Another counter, this time led by Felipe Caicedo, saw Luis Alberto bear down on goal. The Spaniard cut inside, but shot straight at the Milan goalkeeper.
Milan did have the ball in the back of the net, after Patrick Cutrone headed past Strakosha, but the referee’s assistant had his flag up, correctly, for offside.
Another opportunity came the way of Lazio, this time Marco Parolo set up Immobile, but he blasted over the crossbar, then moments later he was denied by the outstretched arm of Reina.
ANOTHER POOR ADVERT
It seems like it is almost a weekly occurrence in Italy, as racist chanting and songs from Lazio fans for the duration of the game. Chants of ‘oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh, this banana is for Bakayoko’ were sung throughout, and both he and Kessie were subject to monkey noises, clearly audible from the press stand. Why the game wasn’t stopped is a mystery, and it’ll remain to be seen if sanctions against Lazio come to pass. This was one of the worst instances of racist behaviour I have seen at the San Siro, it was constant, for the whole match, as well as before and after.