Juventus hoped to head into the Coppa Italia final against Lazio as newly-crowned Serie A champions and will have to work hard against Biancocelesti to overcome a disappointing defeat to AS Roma and win first of the three major trophies they are still running for.
Juventus cannot afford a single slip-up again
Max Allegri had warned his players about complacency but it seems that Bianconeri are having trouble thinking about anything else than Champions League as they bite their nails in anticipation of the Cardiff final against Real Madrid. Juventus wasted two chances to clinch the sixth consecutive Serie A title as they were held by city rivals Torino and dealt an embarrassing 3-1 blow at AS Roma last time and the midweek Coppa Italia final comes as a great opportunity to get back on winning ways in style before they clinch the league title against Crotone and/or Bologna. With a trophy at stake and the first piece of silverware within their reach, Juventus will undoubtedly give their best to get back to being their usual selves against respectable opposition. Juventus, however, have little reason to fear Lazio given the two team’s most recent records. Bianconeri have last lost to Biancocelesti in 2013, whereas also keeping a clean sheet against Lazio in last six wins on the trot.
Max Allegri will have some selection issues as Moise keane, Sami Khedira, Parko Pjaca and Daniele Rugani remain sidelined with injuries, whereas the availability of Mario Mandzukic remains under doubt. On the positive note, first-team stars Paulo Dybala, Dani Alves and Giorgio Chiellini are likely to return to the fold.
Lazio hoping to change tradition
Biancocelesti have a big mountain to climb in the Coppa Italia finals. Lazio have endured a torrid record in direct encounters with Juventus with their only win in last four years coming in Coppa Italia as well. Nevertheless, Lazio will be hugely motivated for the big game as they are coming off from a rather impressive season. Simeone Inzaghi’s young and exciting squad has been putting in some appealing displays this season offering great promise and flaring up the fans’ imagination who are excited about their club’s future. Having wrapped up the Europa League place in fourth spot in the standings, Lazio will finish the season in front of the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan and have reasons to be pleased despite never quite managing to join Napoli, AS Roma and Juventus in their race for the Serie A title. Lazio warmed up for the Coppa Italia final clash with a 3-2 defeat at Fiorentina. The loss will not have disrupted the team balance however as Inzaghi decided to rest a couple of his first-team stars and get them ready for the big match.
Federico Marchetti remains ruled out with his knee injury, whereas Inzaghi will be sweating over the fitness of Jordan Lukaku and Marco Parolo. Influential midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has had a muscle injury to deal with, and Lazio will be hoping he will be fully fit in time for the big match.
Juventus boast a perfect record against Lazio in last seven encounters and Max Allegri’s men will be firm favourites to win the game and lift their first trophy of the season. Experience and quality is on their side despite Lazio’s confidence, youth and excitement.
Top pick: Juventus 2.05 (21/20) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score No 2.00 (1/1) @PaddyPower
Alternative pick 2: Juventus to win to Nil 3.50 (5/2) @BetVictor