ROME: Lazio returned to a heroes welcome in Rome on Monday after their thrilling 3-1 Italian Super Cup victory over Juventus in Riyadh which ended Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo’s five-year victorious run in finals. Ronaldo had been on a run of 12 consecutive wins with Portugal, Juventus and Real Madrid going back to the Spanish Super Cup in August 2014. And the 34-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s frustration was obvious as he quickly took the silver medal off his neck and did not wait to see Lazio lift the trophy for a fifth time. Simone Inzaghi’s side have won the Cup twice in the past three years, having also beaten Juventus 3-2 in 2017.
The Roman-based team landed in the early hours at the city’s Fiumicino airport where they were greeted by 1,000 fans, waving the club’s white and blue flags, scarves and banners. “We’re doing something incredible, between the eight wins in a row (in the league) and this victory in the Cup,” said Luis Alberto, who scored the opening goal. “Lazio have confirmed that they are a great team, with a winning mentality and great players.”
Ronaldo has played two finals since joining Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018, scoring the winner to beat AC Milan 1-0 in the Italian Super Cup in January 2019. “There is anger but crying over it does not solve the problems,” said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri. Paulo Dybala had equalised for Sarri’s side just before half-time, but the Romans hit back in the second half. “My feeling is that we didn’t lose from fatigue, but from a lack of brilliance,” continued Sarri.
“We are sorry we lost a trophy, but we still have many competitions at stake in the next five months.” Eight-time reigning league champions Juventus — joint top of Serie A with Inter Milan — return to action on January 6 against Cagliari, while third-placed Lazio travel to Brescia on January 5. The Roman club have won two Serie A titles in 1974 and 2000. — AFP