Juventus beat Lazio 2-0 in Coppa Italia semi-final first leg

TURIN   -  Juventus earned a 2-0 advantage over Lazio in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final on Tues­day when forwards Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic both scored for Massimiliano Allegri’s side in the second half. 

The win edged Juventus closer to their 22nd final in the cup, which they have won a record 14 times. The return leg will be played in Rome on April 23. Ju­ventus could have opened the scoring early in the game when they were awarded a penalty for Matias Vecino’s foul on defender Andrea Cambiaso but the referee overturned his decision after a VAR check showed that the Juve right-back was offside. Lazio, who lost striker Mattia Zaccagni through injury in the 14th min­ute, looked better in the opening half, pressing for chances while they held more possession. But the visitors, who on Saturday edged Juve 1-0 at home in Serie A with a last-gasp goal, struggled for precision and Chiesa eventu­ally gave Juventus the lead five minutes after the break. 

The Italy striker profited from a neat vertical pass by Cambiaso to strike from the edge of the box low inside the right post. The goal sparked Juventus into life and Vlahovic doubled their ad­vantage in the 64th minute, net­ting into the bottom far corner. Weston McKennie played Vla­hovic in from the right flank with a first touch for the Serbian to break into the box and score his 10th goal across all competitions since the turn of the year. “It was a really difficult period for all of us, we knew we had to be up to this game,” Vlahovic told Me­diaset. “We played against a very strong team, with a strong coach. We gave everything and after the goal everything became easier.” 

Juventus are unbeaten in their last 23 home games in the com­petition, a record streak for the Bianconeri in the tournament. Their last home Coppa Italia de­feat came in March 2015, a 2-1 loss to Fiorentina with a brace from Mohamed Salah. Lazio, who have reached the Coppa Ita­lia semi-finals for the first time since 2018-19, ended the game with no shots on target, suffer­ing five consecutive defeats away from home in the competition for the first time. Fiorentina host Atalanta in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

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