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Italy - Coppa Italia
May 3, 2014
• Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: D. Orsato
• Attendance: 65000
J. Vargas 28'
L. Insigne 11', 17'
D. Mertens 90'+
Fiorentina will hope to bounce back when they take on Sassuolo in the Serie A on Tuesday night while Napoli will be hoping to avoid a Coppa Italia hangover when they host Cagliari. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
The Napoli fans are jubilant as Marek Hamsik lifts the Coppa Italia high over his head. What an achievement for the Slovenian captain and his Partenopei teammates.
The Fiorentina players receive a good reception from both sets of supporters as they go up to collect their runners-up medals.
The Coppa Italia marks Rafa Benitez's nine different trophy as a coach. That's some record from the Spaniard.
After all the controversy and disappointing events which preceded the game, it turned out to be a truly special game of football. Fiorentina certainly played their part in the spectacle and they must be wondering what have been if Ilicic had converted that late chance to put them level.
FT: Fiorentina 1-3 Napoli. The Napoli players begin the celebrations on the pitch as Daniele Orsato blows the final whistle. Lorenzo Insigne's quickfire double gave the Partenopei the perfect start but Fiorentina battled back bravely as Juan Vargas reduced the deficit. Gokhan Inler's 79th minute red card appeared to give Vincenzo Montella's side hope but Viola hearts were broken in stoppage time when Dries Mertens wrapped up the win.
NAPOLI ARE THE 2014 COPPA ITALIA CHAMPIONS!
90' + 5'
The Napoli fans are in fine voice here and they come forward again as Mertens drills a shot high over the bar. The final whistle is imminent.
90' + 4'
There is surely no way back for Fiorentina now. Vincenzo Montella's side have battled bravely in this second half but they have not been able to recover from Lorenzo Insigne's quickfire double.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
MERTENS WRAPS UP THE WIN FOR NAPOLI! The Partenopei bench invade the field as Mertens latches onto Callejon's well-weighted pass before firing across Neto and into the bottom corner. It's another trophy in the cabinet for Rafa Benitez.
90' + 1'
There is a stoppage in play here as Callejon and Vargas clash heads, with both players needing treatment. The fourth official signals FIVE minutes of stoppage time.
Fiorentina are frantically searching for the equaliser but another chance goes begging when Fernandez slices a shot wide of the target. The Napoli fans are whistling loudly in anticipation of the final whistle.
It's all hands to the pump for Napoli as Fiorentina continue to push forward and bombard the Partenopei box. Can the ten men hold on to claim their fifth Coppa Italia title?
Matri has certainly made an impact from the bench and he spins Ghoulam excellently after collecting Pizarro's incise pass. However, he cannot provide the finish to match as he sends his shot wide of the target.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR FIORENTINA! The Viola players have their heads in their hands as Ilicic somehow curls the ball the wrong side of the post after being played clean through by Matri. That could prove to be decisive.
Vincenzo Montella makes his final roll of the dice, replacing Alberto Aquilani with Alessandro Matri. Can the former Juventus and Milan striker be the hero?
Fiorentina are pushing everyone forward in the closing stages in search of the equaliser but the Napoli defence continues to hold firm as Henrique brilliantly heads clear Vargas' cross from the left.
Lorenzo Insigne will not have the chance to seal his hat trick as he is sacrificed for the final nine minutes in place of Valon Behrami. Can Napoli hang on?
Yellow CardPepe Reina
Pepe Reina is the latest victim of Daniele Orsato as he is cautioned for timewasting.
INLER SENT OFF! The Swiss midfielder is given his marching orders after he clumsily fouls Ilicic from behind. Inler knew the second yellow was coming and had his captain's armband off before the referee had even delved in his pocket. Huge blow to Napoli!
Yellow CardLorenzo Insigne
Lorenzo Insigne could prove the matchwinner in this game but he picks up the seventh booking of the game for dissent.
There is a stoppage in play here as Reina goes down following a collision with Inler. The on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper had done brilliantly to punch clear Valero's teasing free kick and should be able to continue.
CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! The game is starting to get more stretched now and Pandev has a wonderful chance to make it 3-1 as he gets in behind the Fiorentina defence before his tame, poked effort is easily saved by Neto. Will that miss prove costly?
The Fiorentina fans get to their feet as Rossi comes on to replace Joaquin. Can the Viola top goalscorer provide the perfect tonic on his return from injury?
FERNANDEZ GOES CLOSE! There have been few chances to talk about in this second half but Fernandez nearly snatches the equaliser for Fiorentina as he controls Pizarro's pass before fizzing a shot towards goal, which is well tipped over by Reina.
Rafa Benitez decides to make his second change and Higuain, who is perhaps feeling the effects of that injury against Inter last week, is replaced by Pandev.
Insigne has now switched to the right flank and he marauds down the wing before cutting the ball back towards the edge of the box. Mertens attempts to dummy the ball for Higuain but Gonzalo Rodriguez anticipates the play excellently to make a crucial interception.
Unfortunately, this second half has not lived up to the standards of the first half and both sides continue to pass the ball around tentatively, almost afraid of conceding the crucial next goal.
Yellow CardMati Fernández
Matias Fernandez picks up Fiorentina's fourth booking of the game after a mistimed lunge on Jorginho.
Ilicic has done a good job up front for Fiorentina today but he has struggled to test Reina and sends another shot high over the bar. Rossi continues to warm up on the touchline.
Rafa Benitez decides to make his first change of the game and it is Hamsik who makes way, with Dries Mertens coming on to replace him. Can the Belgian winger help to extend Napoli's lead?
Hamsik appears to have shaken off that knock now but he cannot provide a decisive third goal for Napoli as his through ball is just too far ahead of Higuain.
There is an injury concern for Napoli here as Hamsik appears to have picked up a knock. The Partenopei players respond by slowing down the tempo and holding onto possession.
It's all Fiorentina at the moment as Napoli retreat back deeper inside their own half in an attempt to hold onto their lead. The Viola players scream for a penalty when they feel Ilicic's corner strikes a Napoli arm in the box but the referee is not interested and waves play on.
Napoli have shown few signs of attacking intent in this second half and it is Fiorentina who are committing more bodies forward in search of the equaliser. Can Fernandez make the difference from the bench?
Vincenzo Montella decides to make his first change of the game as Matias Fernandez comes on to replace Manuel Pasqual. It seems as though Fiorentina are switching to three at the back.
Fiorentina are looking to exploit the Napoli defence with a long ball over the top for Ilicic to chase but Fernandez reads the game excellently on this occasion to backpedal and head to safety. Neither goalkeeper has been tested in the second half.
There has been no real flow to this second half yet as both sides struggle to get back into their rhythm. Henrique is fortunate to escape a yellow card after he catches Joaquin.
Yellow CardGökhan Inler
The tackles are flying in at the beginning of the second half and Inler goes into the book for a late challenge on Aquilani. He can have no complaints about that one.
Yellow CardNenad Tomovic
Tomovic picks up Fiorentina's third booking of the day after he clatters into Albiol after the ball had been played.
The Fiorentina fans let out a huge roar as Giuseppe Rossi undergoes a warm-up on the touchline. Can he be the Viola's saviour?
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and Napoli, looking to hold on and repeat their 2012 Coppa Italia success, get the game back underway. There have been no substitutions at the break.
HT: Fiorentina 1-2 Napoli. Daniele Orsato blows his whistle to end a captivating half of football. Lorenzo Insigne rewarded Napoli's blistering start with two well-taken goals but the Viola were not to be denied as Juan Vargas pulled one back before Alberto Aquilani's disallowed strike on the stroke of half time. Let's hope for more of the same after the break.
GOAL DISALLOWED FOR FIORENTINA! Vincenzo Montella's side are denied an equaliser on the stroke of half time as Aquilaini is adjudged narrowly offside when converting from Ilicic's teasing left-wing set-piece. That looked a close one.
Gonzalo Rodriguez makes a brilliant challenge to steal away possession from Inler before being tripped by Hamsik. The referee plays the advantage but it comes to nothing as Joaquin is again adjudged marginally offside from Aquilani's raking pass.
Napoli appear to have weathered the Fiorentina storm here as they begin to threaten Neto's goal again. Ghoulam advances forward from left-back but the Algerian can only drag his shot wide of the target.
Yellow CardJosip Iličič
Ilicic is the third player to go into Mr Orsato's notebook after a cynical trip on Insigne. The 23-year-old is causing serious problems on the left wing for Napoli.
Higuain missed two Copa del Rey finals for Real Madrid and he looks to make up for it here, surging beyond Savic before seeing his shot well held by Neto.
Fiorentina need to be careful that they do not commit too many bodies forward however as Napoli are a serious threat on the counter. Insigne does well to pick out Inler on the edge of the box but the Swiss midfielder's strike is brilliantly blocked by Pizarro.
Borja Valero is beginning to have more of an influence on this game now and the Spaniard goes close when he jinks inside from the right corner of the box before curling an effort over the bar. Napoli are rocking here.
Yellow CardRaúl Albiol
Albiol picks up Napoli's first booking of the game after cynically hauling down his Spanish compatriot Joaquin on the counter attack. Vargas steps up to take the resulting set piece but it is well blocked by the sky blue wall.
That goal has stunned Napoli and Rafa Benitez is up from the dugout and barking orders to his players. The next goal is so crucial.
This game has really swung in Fiorentina's favour now and it is the Viola who look the most likely to score again. Ilicic sends Joaquin through on goal with an incise through pass but the Spaniard is denied a route to goal by the linesman's raised flag.
That Vargas goal has given Fiorentina a renewed sense of belief and they are passing the ball around with more confidence now. It's turning into a terrific cup final at the Stadio Olimpico.
VARGAS PULLS ONE BACK FOR FIORENTINA! The Viola supporters suddenly find their voice as Vargas latches onto Ilicic's deft flick over the Napoli defence before thundering a left-footed effort beyond the helpless Reina. That's a fine finish from the Peruvian! Game on.
Fiorentina enjoy a sustained spell of possession inside the Napoli half as they look to gain a foothold in the game. Can they find a goal before the break?
This Fiorentina defence is all over the place at the moment and with defenders backing off, Callejon tries his luck from outside the box and watches his effort go agonisingly past the post. Neto vents his frustration to the purple shirts in front of him.
VALERO GOES CLOSE! Reina is yet to be tested in the Napoli goal but Valero has Fiorentina's best chance of the game so far as he unleashes a dipping strike from outside the box which goes narrowly over the bar.
Inler clearly fancies getting his name on the scoresheet this evening but the Switzerland international fails to do so on this occasion as he blazes an effort high over the bar from outside the box.
Fiorentina are finding it difficult to mount a response here and they cannot get into the Napoli half at present. It's been a nightmare start for Vincenzo Montella's side.
Perhaps Vincenzo Montella will be forced to introduce Giuseppe Rossi earlier than anticipated. The Azzurri talisman hit 14 goals in 18 appearances before his ligament injury.
INSIGNE DOUBLES NAPOLI'S LEAD! The Partenopei fans are bouncing inside the Stadio Olimpico and it is Insigne again on the scoresheet. Higuain is at the heart of it as he bursts beyond the erratic Fiorentina defence before pulling the ball back for Insigne who slams the ball home courtesy of a slight deflection. It's a big mountain for Fiorentina to climb now.
SO CLOSE TO 2-0! The Fiorentina defence cannot cope with the pace of this Napoli attack at the moment and this time, it is Callejon who causes trouble. The former Real Madrid man gets behind Pasqual all too easily but his teasing low cross somehow evades Higuain in the middle and is deflected behind.
Napoli had given Fiorentina an early warning with that Higuain chance and were not to be denied at the second time of asking. It's been a terrific start from Rafa Benitez's side, can Fiorentina respond?
INSIGNE GIVES NAPOLI THE LEAD! Napoli strike first in the Coppa Italia final and it is a devastating counter attack from Rafa Benitez's side. Marek Hamsik is the architect as he glides through the midfield before neatly slipping in Insigne on the left corner of the box. The 23-year-old makes no mistake with his effort as he opens up his body and curls a shot across Neto which strikes the inside of the post before nestling in the net. Napoli lead 1-0!
Yellow CardBorja Valero
Borja Valero, who moments ago made that crucial goalline interception, is the first player to be cautioned after a mistimed challenge on Jorginho.
NAPOLI GO CLOSE! Rafa Benitez's side have made a brilliant start here and they go within inches of taking the lead as Higuain rises highest to power a header towards goal from a corner on the left. It strikes Valero on the line and Fiorentina somehow survive as Higuain fails to turn in the rebound
INSIGNE GOES CLOSE! The Italy youngster has made a bright start to this game and he collects a pass on the left corner of the box before cutting inside Tomovic and sending a shot towards the bottom corner, which is well tipped behind by Neto.
Fiorentina launch their first attack of the game as Pizarro pings a diagonal pass out to the left towards the unmarked Pasqual. However, fortunately for the Napoli defence, the linesman's flag is raised for offside.
Insigne is hoping to impress in front of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. However, he cannot penetrate the Fiorentina defence as Pizarro reads his intentions expertly to intercept his through ball towards Higuain.
It's a fiery start at the Stadio Olimpico and Inler shows his fury after getting caught late by Savic's challenge. Napoli are enjoying the majority of the possession early on.
Daniele Orsato blows his whistle and Fiorentina, hunting their first piece of silverware in 13 years, finally get the Coppa Italia final underway.
The players and officials are enjoying a second warm-up on the field ahead of the delayed kick-off. Who will land the 2014 Coppa Italia title, will it be Vincenzo Montella's Viola or Rafa Benitez's Partenopei?
The national anthem is sung and, much like last year, is loudly jeered by the crowd. It's a very hostile atmosphere in the Stadio Olimpico. Let's hope the football can do the talking.
The wait is finally over as captains Marek Hamsik and Manuel Pasqual lead the respective sides onto the field. Tonight's referee is Daniele Orsato.
The players are in the tunnel and this Coppa Italia final is now minutes away!
Police have spoken with Napoli curva fans and it appears that the game now has the all clear to go ahead. The cup has been brought out onto the field though there is still no sign of the players.
Though it is yet to be confirmed, there are now reports emerging from Italy that a Napoli fan has died after being shot in the Italian capital.
The latest reports in Italy say that the Coppa Italia final will go ahead. Kick-off is expected shortly though both Vincenzo Montella and Rafa Benitez are engaged in serious conversation by the tunnel.
The Napoli fans pelt the authorities with flares and missiles and it is understood that they are not willing to allow the game to go ahead until they have assurances that one of their fans, who was shot by police, is alive. Shocking scenes at the Stadio Olimpico and a shameful way to mark this special football occasion.
The authorities are out on the field as both clubs wait anxiously to discover whether the game should go ahead. I'll bring you more news on the issue when I know more.
As for Napoli, their route to the final included home victories against Atalanta and last season’s winner Lazio, before they faced a two-legged Derby Della Sole against Roma in the semi-final. Despite losing the first leg 3-2, Rafa Benitez's side produced a stunning second leg display at the San Paolo as goals from Jose Callejon, Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho helped them to reach their 10th Coppa Italia final.
Fiorentina reached their 11th Coppa Italia final by overcoming Chievo and local rivals Siena in the first two rounds before defeating Udinese 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Juan Cuadrado was the hero in the last round but he misses tonight's final through suspension.
The two sides have met twice so far in Serie A this season, with the away side coming away victorious each time. Fiorentina recently secured all three points from the San Paolo courtesy of a late Joaquin header while Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens grabbed first-half goals for Napoli at the Artemio Franchi to claim a 2-1 win.
Strange scenes at the Stadio Olimpico as Marek Hamsik comes out to address the Napoli fans. Some news outlets in Italy are reporting that the crowd violence could cause this game to be postponed or even cancelled.
Fiorentina's last taste of silverware came in this competition in 2001 when goals from Paolo Vanoli and Nuno Gomes gave them a 2-1 aggregate victory over Parma. Can the Viola end their 13-year trophy drought today?
Sadly, there have been reports of crowd trouble in the Italian capital and it is believed that three Napoli fans have been shot in violent altercations with police.
Napoli subs: Colombo, Dublas, Revelliere, Britos, Maggio, Zuniga, Mesto, Dzemaili, Behrami, Mertens, Pandev, Zapata.
NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): Reina; Henrique, Fernandez, Raul Albiol, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Inler; Insigne, Hamsik, Callejon; Higuain.
Fiorentina subs: Rosati, Diakite, Compper, Bakic, Fernandez, Ambrosini, Wolski, Anderson, Matos, Matri, Rossi.
FIORENTINA (4-5-1): Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic, Pasqual; Joaquin, Pizarro, Aquilani, Borja Valero, Vargas; Ilicic.
NAPOLI TEAM NEWS: Gonzalo Higuain has recovered from the injury which he sustained in the 0-0 draw with Inter last weekend to lead the attack for Napoli, with Lorenzo Insigne, Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon in support. Federico Fernandez gets the nod ahead of Miguel Angel Britos and starts alongside Raul Albiol in the Partenopei defence. Christian Maggio is back on the bench for the first time since undergoing emergency surgery on a collapsed lung in February.
FIORENTINA TEAM NEWS: The big news for Viola fans is that top goalscorer Giuseppe Rossi returns to the bench after his long injury lay-off but there is no space in the squad for Mario Gomez who misses out with a knee problem. Barcelona target Juan Cuadrado is also out through suspension while Stefan Savic returns to the heart of defence to partner Gonzalo Rodriguez. Josip Ilicic leads the attack.
However, while the Viola are gunning for their seventh Coppa Italia triumph, they come up against a Napoli side eager to repeat their 2012 success when they defeated Juventus 2-0. Rafa Benitez has won a trophy with each of his last four clubs (Valencia, Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea) and he will be determined to continue that streak with Napoli today.
It's finally here! Two of Serie A's most entertaining sides go head to head at the Stadio Olimpico tonight in search of the Coppa Italia crown. Napoli appear to have got the better of Fiorentina in the race for the final Champions League position but Vincenzo Montella's side will be determined to exact their revenge today by claiming their first piece of silverware in 13 years. I'm Max Bentley and I'll be bringing you all the action from what promises to be an intriguing cup final.
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