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Added 14 seconds later:
ROMA TRIUMPH IN DRAMATIC COPPA FINAL
After last season’s disappointment, AS Roma were back in the final of the Coppa Italia, this time looking to triumph and bring home the trophy. The Giallorossi are the tied [with Juventus] most successful side in the competition’s history with 9 wins but knew that getting that tenth trophy would be no small feat against Udinese in this final.
The opening exchanges were certainly dominated by Francesco Totti’s side but Udinese defended very strongly and managed to keep out the newly crowned Scudetto winners. For over half an hour the Bianconeri managed to hold out against Serie A’s most dangerous attack, but eventually the champions found a breakthrough.
Gervinho was the architect, taking men on at will down the right flank. He clipped the ball past Lazzari into the penalty area and sought out an unmarked Mattia Destro in the box. The Italian striker, who is enjoying a talismanic end to the season, hit the ball first time while turning toward goal, slotting it into the bottom corner to give Roma the lead.
Early in the second half the Giallorossi came within inches of doubling their advantage. Ivorian winger Gervinho was again at the heart of the attack, bursting past his man before cutting the ball back to Miralem Pjanic. The Bosnian playmaker smashed a shot toward the top corner, only to watch it hammer off of the post and go wide.
Then the Udinese miracle began. A little bit past the hour mark, Emmanuel Badu whipped in a free kick from the right side of the box. The cross found its way to an unmarked Igor Bubnjic to head home powerfully past Morgan De Sanctis. Suddenly the comeback was on.
With fifteen minutes to go in the match, Udinese found their go-ahead goal. Danilo hit a speculative long ball over the top of the defense and caught Leandro Castan napping. Youssef El Arabi suddenly found himself through on goal and made absolutely no mistake, coolly putting the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper and sending the Udinese fans into ecstasy.
It seemed Roma were dead and buried and were set to experience cup final agony for the second straight year. Somehow, though, the Giallorossi pulled off the impossible deep in injury time. 93 minutes gone, Alessandro Florenzi slipped in Adem Ljajic and the Serbian attacker somehow managed to curl in a last gasp equalizer. The Stadio Olimpico exploded into reverberating celebrations; we were going into extra time.
Two minutes into the first period of extra time it was the man with the armband that completed AS Roma’s comeback. Adem Ljajic delightfully picked out Daniele De Rossi at the penalty spot from a corner kick and the Giallorossi legend thundered his header into the roof of the net.
Later in the first period, Udinese were left with just nine men as first Dusan Basta was stretchered off with a calf injury before Thomas Heurtax received his second yellow card for a violent shove on Alessandro Florenzi and shown red.
From that point on, Roma cruised and held on to a dramatic 3-2 victory after extra time in the Coppa Italia final. The entire city of Rome was screaming in celebration as Totti and De Rossi lifted the famous trophy together, avenging their loss from last season and completing their domestic double.
“We are ecstatic to have won here today,” said Totti after the match. “We have proven now that we are undoubtedly the best side in Italy by winning both the league and cup. Don’t expect us to stop here, though. We want to continue to improve and become a major force in the years to come.”