October 23, 2018

JUVENTUS KEEP TREBLE HOPES ALIVE AS GUNNERS FIRE BLANKS

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Juventus win the Copa Italia in a pulsating encounter against Lazio as Arsenal’s failure to score give Sunderland the necessary point needed for survival in the premier league
BY STEVE NJUGUNA

Alessandro Matri was the hero for Juventus as he scored an extra time goal to win the 2014-2015 Copa Italia also known as TIM cup at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy on Tuesday night. This was just a few weeks after Juventus sealed the Italian league title which is commonly referred to as the ‘Scudetto’.

The game was turned on its head early as Lazio took the lead in the 4th minute as Romanian defender headed the ball powerfully into the back of the net after a free kick was floated into the Juventus box. However, Juventus goalkeeper Storari will feel that he could have saved it as he had got a palm to it.Juventus were shocked into action and they pressed forward to look for an equalizing goal. It did not take long for them to get back into the game as Italian international defender levelled the scoring in the 11th minute after a sublime volley from a set piece delivery by veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

After the early goals, one would be forgiven for thinking that the game would have many goals. However the two teams matched each other in aggressiveness and play and they found themselves going into extra time after the full 90 minutes ended.7 minutes into the first half of extra time ,substitute Alessandro Matri broke the hearts of everybody associated with Lazio as he chested an Andrea Pirlo long pass and managed to retain the ball as defenders applied pressure before placing a shot into far right post though Lazio custodian Berisha will also be kicking himself as the shot was relatively weak. With two new trophies already in their cabinet, Juventus have a chance to achieve a historic treble if they win the Champions league final against Barcelona on June 6th in Berlin.

Elsewhere, Sunderland achieved their objective of staying up in the league as they surprisingly held Arsenal to a goalless draw at the Emirates stadium in London on Tuesday night. Prior to the game Arsenal needed two points to finish third while Sunderland needed a point to assure their stay in the premier league at least for another season.
The game was dominated by Arsenal from the onset but it took some time for them to actually threaten Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantillimon in the Sunderland goal. English midfielder Jack Wilshere had the best chance of the first half as he forced a save from Pantillimon at point blank range.

The second half saw the introduction of Scottish international Steven Fletcher who made an impact instantly forcing three consecutive saves from Colombian Goalkeeper David Ospina in the Arsenal goal. Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger introduced Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott who forced saves from Pantillimon as the tall Romanian was easily the best player on the pitch. The final whistle saw a massive celebration from the 2000 strong visiting Sunderland fan contingent as the players celebrated wildly around the pitch.

The result leaves Arsenal on 72 points virtually safe from losing third place to Manchester United who have 69 points but would need Arsenal to lose and then they would have to win against Hull by eight clear goals if they still want third place. The result put Sunderland on 38 points 2 points clear of Newcastle and 4 ahead of Hull city leaving the two clubs to battle out the last remaining slot.

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