ROME: Defending champions Juventus will take on Inter Milan for a place in the Italian Cup final after edging Lazio 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) with goalline technology summoned to clarify the winning goal.
On the back of 10 wins in a row in Serie A, Juventus grabbed the only goal of the night in the 66th minute at the Stadio Olimpico.
Swiss international Stephan Lichtsteiner, a former Lazio star, was in the right place at the right time to nudge the ball over the line after a fierce drive from Simone Zaza had come off the crossbar.
Lazio’s Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha thought he had done enough to thwart Lichtsteiner’s close-range rebound but goalline technology showed the ball had just crossed the line.
“It will be a wonderful semifinals, you have to face the biggest clubs to reach the end, but right now we are focused on this weekend’s meeting with Roma in the league,” said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.
On Tuesday, Inter had defeated Napoli 2-0 in a match overshadowed by an ugly row between rival coaches Roberto Mancini and Maurizio Sarri.
Mancini blasted Napoli counterpart Sarri a “racist” and claimed his rival called him a “poof”.
Mancini and Sarri clashed on the touchline after Adem Ljajic killed off the quarterfinals tie at the San Paolo stadium in Naples in injury time to add to Stevan Jovetic’s opener.
“Maurizio Sarri is a racist and men like him have no place in football,” fumed Mancini to RAI TV after the game.
“He used racist words. He started insulting me and then shouted at me, calling me a poof.”
Mancini said Sarri had used the words “frocio” and “finocchio”, both pejorative terms meaning homosexual.
Sarri brushed off the exchange as part and parcel of the game.
“I’ve seen and heard worse on a pitch,” he said. “I hope that in the cold light of day, Mancini will also change his point of view.
“In my words, there was no form of discrimination, I have nothing against homosexuals. I’ve apologized to Mancini, for me everything’s ok.”
The other semifinals will be between third-division Alessandria and AC Milan.