"I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time," commented Senad Lulić after his goal earned S.S. Lazio a 1-0 win in the Coppa Italia final against derby rivals AS Roma.
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S.S. Lazio midfielder Senad Lulić described his winning goal in the Coppa Italia final as "unforgettable" after earning his side their sixth cup triumph at the expense of great rivals AS Roma.
With Roma and Lazio finishing sixth and seventh respectively in Serie A, the first Coppa Italia final involving the two capital sides carried with it the extra carrot of UEFA Europa League qualification – and Vladimir Petković's side took the spoils thanks to Lulić's close-range strike 19 minutes from time. "Winning this trophy by beating Roma in the final is just incredible," added the Bosnia and Herzegovina defender.
Lazio started stronger than their city rivals at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma goalkeeper Bogdan Lobonț needing to save a Lulić effort after just three minutes and Miroslav Klose missing the target on the rebound. Ten minutes from the interval, Lobonț was called into action again to deny Klose's well-placed header.
Roma produced a chance just before the break as Marquinho delivered an excellent cross, only for Mattia Destro to head over from good position. The game was evenly balanced after the break as well, until Lazio broke the deadlock on 71 minutes when Lulić made no mistake following good work by Antonio Candreva. "I saw Candreva finding space on the right and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time," added Lulić. "I dedicate this unforgettable goal to my wife, who is pregnant."
Francesco Totti went close to equalising, but Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti saved his powerful free-kick with the help of the crossbar. "It's a unique moment for me and the club," added Brazilian midfielder Hernanes. "It was great to have the opportunity to make history today. I missed a penalty against Roma in Serie A this season so I was very motivated to make amends for that mistake. It was a great relief for me and tonight we can finally celebrate."
"I'm very pleased with my players," added Lazio coach Petković. "They really deserved this victory. I was sure that all the work we did during this season would pay off sooner or later. I feel sorry for Roma; it's not easy to lose a final like this one. We didn't have a brilliant game but we were focused enough to win it. We missed a couple of good opportunities to kill the game on the counterattack so we had to suffer until the final whistle, but finally we can celebrate. It would have been a disappointing season for us without this great victory."