Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 to clinch Italian Super Cup in Riyadh

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Lazio players celebrate after winning the Italian Super Cup against Juventus at King Saud University Stadium, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Dec. 22, 2019. (AP)
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Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo during the Juventus v Lazio match at King Saud University Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Dec.22, 2019. (Reuters)
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Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo in action with Lazio's Stefan Radu during the Juventus v Lazio match at King Saud University Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Dec.22, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 December 2019

Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 to clinch Italian Super Cup in Riyadh

  • It was the second time in three years that Lazio had beaten Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana
  • Juve are no strangers to Saudi Arabia having won the Super Cup in Jeddah in January this year, beating AC Milan 1-0

RIYADH: Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 on Sunday to win the Italian Super Cup for a fifth time at the King Saud University Stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

“We did something magical — to beat Juve twice in two weeks is incredible,” Inzaghi told Rai Sport.

“I think this was another deserved victory for a strong team that always believed in our ideas.”

Lazio, the only team to have defeated Juve in Serie A this season, were in front through Luis Alberto after 16 minutes.

Paulo Dybala levelled just before the break after a shot from Ronaldo was parried into his path by Lazio’s Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.




Lazio's players celebrate after winning the Supercoppa Italiana final football match against Juventus  at the King Saud University Stadium in  Riyadh on Sunday. (AFP) 

Despite boasting the attacking talents of Ronaldo, Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, it was the Roman side who looked more likely the next to score.

Bosnian international Senad Lulic restored Lazio’s advantage in the 73rd minute with an impressive volley.

Danilo Cataldi added a third in the fourth minute of stoppage time from a free kick after Juve’s Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur had been sent off.

It was the second time in three years that Lazio had beaten Juventus in the Super Cup. The capital side had also won 3-1 when the two clubs met in Serie A two weeks ago in what was Maurizio Sarri’s only previous defeat as Juventus coach.

The Italian league has a contract with Saudi Arabia to play three Super Cups in the country over five years and — just like last year — the match went ahead.

Ronaldo was the main reason the fans came to watch and Juve obviously took the occasion on board with their famed black and white shirts sporting Arabic designs.

Juve are no strangers to Saudi Arabia having won the Super Cup in Jeddah in January this year, beating AC Milan 1-0.

The Turin giants had been looking to win the trophy for a ninth time.

Juventus will now turn their attentions to defending their Serie A title.

They are currently level at the top of the table with Inter Milan while Lazio are third, six points off the pace.


Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

Updated 21 February 2020

Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

LONDON: Jose Mourinho had almost reached the end of his lament about the current situation facing his weary Tottenham players when he turned his attention to their next Premier League game against a team he knows so well.

“The Chelsea players were watching this game on TV,” Mourinho said after Tottenham’s 1-0 home loss to Leipzig in the Champions League, “with nice sparkling water, with lemons and biscuits, enjoying the game.”

If only the outlook at Chelsea were so rosy.

Indeed, recent results suggest the predicament of Mourinho’s old club is more concerning than Tottenham’s.

Chelsea, somehow, find themselves still holding onto fourth place in the league heading into Saturday’s London derby against their nearest rivals in the race for Champions League qualification. That’s despite collecting only 15 points from its last 14 games, a dire run stretching back to the end of November.

At that time, Chelsea were on a six-match winning streak — its best since the team’s title-winning season of 2016-17 — and wasn’t too far behind Liverpool, the current runaway leader. Youngsters like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were regular starters, given their opportunity by an up-and-coming manager in Frank Lampard who is eager to promote youth. US winger Christian Pulisic was in his best form since his move from
Borussia Dortmund.

Fast forward three months and injuries are starting to bite, the kids are starting to feel the pace in a grueling season, and Lampard — a bright, eloquent and engaging manager — has been grumbling about the club’s failure to add numbers to the squad in January and his players’
wastefulness in front of goal.

“I must sound like a broken record,” a clearly frustrated Lampard said after seeing Chelsea get picked off in a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Lampard’s main gripe is the team’s inability to finish off chances, which has become more pronounced with Abraham — a scorer of 13 league goals this season — currently out injured.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic also missing against United, Lampard played a front three of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Pedro Rodriguez — a throwback to a few years ago and an era Chelsea fans probably thought they’d seen the back of.

Key midfielder N’Golo Kante joined Abraham on the injury list after going off early against United, while Lampard is still playing 38-year-old Willy Caballero in goal after dropping Kepa Arrizabalaga — signed in 2018 as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

It’s an uncertain period for Lampard, who is still a rookie in managerial terms, and Chelsea’s recent slump has seen as many as seven teams move within seven points or closer in the standings.

In that three-month period, Tottenham have won 29 points — a haul second only to Liverpool. That coincided exactly with Mourinho taking over as manager from Mauricio Pochettino.

The issue, now, is whether Spurs can keep it up, and Mourinho clearly has his doubts. With attackers Son Heung-min and Harry Kane out potentially for the rest of the season, Mourinho likened his team to someone “going to fight with a gun without bullets.”

Amid a hectic schedule that has seen his team play two FA Cup replays since the turn of the year, Mourinho said he has been forced to start with the same group of players for matches every three of four days. Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench against Leipzig having barely trained.

“I try to manage the pieces that we had,” he said.

Throw in the fact that Tottenham has a tight turnaround after the Leipzig match — Wednesday night to Saturday lunchtime — and Mourinho will feel he has genuine cause for grievance.

Yet, he is managing to scramble together results and a win at Stamford Bridge, where he previously enjoyed two separate trophy-winning spells as coach and was once revered, would see Tottenham climb above Chelsea.

Outmanoeuvring Mourinho, his former coach, in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in December was one of the few bright spots for Lampard in recent months. 

Doing so again would give him and Chelsea some much-needed breathing space in what is suddenly a bunched chase for Champions League qualification.