ROME – Joaquin Correa scored the only goal of the game as Lazio beat Milan 1-0 on Wednesday in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal.
Having been held to a goalless draw in the first leg, the Rome-based team took the lead shortly before the hour mark when the Argentine capped off a flowing counterattack with a tidy finish at the near post.
The defeat means AC Milan has won just once in its last seven games in all competitions, and is in danger of slipping out of the Serie A top four and the Champions League qualification places.
Correa hadn’t scored since Dec. 13, in a Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt, but he broke his goal drought at the San Siro to send six-time Coppa Italia winners Lazio to the final, which will be played at its home ground, the Olympic Stadium in Rome, on May 15.
Coach Simone Inzaghi’s side will only know who its opponent is on Thursday, after the match between Atalanta and Fiorentina. Their first leg in Florence ended 3-3.
The San Siro was the stage for a duel between two teams that have lost in the last four Cup finals to Juventus. Lazio was finalist in 2015 and 2017, while Milan was finalist in 2016 and 2018.
After a relatively slow start to the first half, when both teams were very focused on closing spaces, Davide Calabria had the best chance for Milan after 30 minutes, but his shot was blocked, while at the other end Joaquin Correa collided with Milan’s Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
The Spaniard was also decisive in stopping the 51st minute shot by Brazilian Lucas Leiva and in the 54th minute another attempt by Correa, but Lazio continued to create increasingly clear opportunities to break the deadlock.
The goal duly arrived when Ciro Immobile launched a counterattack that Correa finished off to score the only goal of the tie.
Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso’s side’s response was spearheaded by Spain’s Jesus Fernandez Saez “Suso,” who sent a pass to Patrick Cutrone who planted a header into the net for the equalizer. Milan’s joy was short-lived, however, after the referee correctly ruled the goal out for offside.
As the game entered the closing stages, the “Rossoneri” lost confidence and only another great save from Reina prevented a second goal for Lazio when he stopped a shot from Ciro Immobile.
In the hours before the San Siro match, a group of Lazio ultras had displayed a banner in honor of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in a Milanese square and sang songs in support for fascism.
It was a gesture condemned by the Italian political world and by Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior, who made a statement that 14 of those responsible have already been identified.