Lazio won the Italian Cup in Rome on Wednesday after beating Atalanta 2-0 with late goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa.
The success grants the Romans access to the Europa League, a goal they were chasing also in the Serie A, where they sit four points off places for the tournament with two games remaining.
“It is a great satisfaction,” Correa said. “This cup meant a lot for us after we struggled during the season. We are happy. We never gave up also when we had some bad games, but this made our group even stronger.”
The recovering Milinkovic-Savic came on in the 78th minute and four minutes later nodded in a corner kick, while Correa stormed on the right side in the 90th to secure Lazio’s seventh cup triumph.
The game was played in rainy conditions at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where the final is usually played.
Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez had an early attempt and Marten de Roon hit the post before Duvan Zapata aimed a wide header as the Bergamo side had the upper hand in a fast first half.
Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha saved Timothy Castagne’s drive after the break and Gomez hit the post from a tight angle, while the Romans improved their tempo by bringing on striker Felipe Caicedo and Milinkovic-Savic.
After Lazio took the lead Correa had a break blocked by goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, who stood no chance when the forward stormed on the right side to converge and score despite a clearing attempt from Robin Gosens.
“It is a pity, but finals are like this,” Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said. “In the second half we were doing well but on a corner kick we lost the game. In the first half we used our energies, in the second were not doing that well. Let’s not forget that Lazio are a strong team.
“Now we get over this disappointment, which still was a great experience. After tonight we think about the league.”
Atalanta, who beat Lazio 3-1 in the Serie A 10 days ago, fill the last of four Champions League places, three points above the Europa League zone.