The Coppa Italia semi-final second legs are due to be played this week, and both ties are finely balanced. Fiorentina hold a 2-1 win over Juventus after winning the first leg in Turin, and Napoli are in the box seat in the other match, after a 1-1 away draw with Lazio. With both matches on a knife-edge, the bookies are having a tough time pricing up the outright market and we think there’s a good bit of value in one of the outsiders – Juventus.
It seems a stretch to call a Juventus win a shock or a surprise result, but they trail 2-1 from that first leg with Fiorentina, and they haven’t won the Coppa Italia since 1994, so perhaps they really would qualify as a ‘surprise’ winner. The Italian champions are third in the betting, behind Napoli and Fiorentina, and now could be a good time to jump on them to win the trophy, if we believe they can turn the semi-final on its head this week.
The semi-finals and first leg results are as follows:
Tuesday 7th April
7.45pm Fiorentina (2) v Juventus (1)
Wednesday 8th April
7.45pm Napoli (1) v Lazio (1)
The odds on offer for each of the four teams to lift the trophy are:
Napoli are slight favourites with most bookmakers, but probably by default more than anything else. They hold the finest of advantages over Lazio after a 1-1 draw in Rome, and will be fancied to get through the tie back on home ground. However, it hasn’t been a brilliant season for Rafa Benitez and his team, and they currently sit in 6th in Serie A, eight points behind Lazio, who occupy the third Champions League qualification spot. Napoli came from behind to draw level in the first leg, and they’re also in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, but they’ve actually only won once in the last 8 games. They have beaten Lazio on four of their last five visits to Naples though, so they are in pole position to reach the final. It should also be said that they have a superb record in this cup, having won three of the last four renewals.
Fiorentina – +220 with Boylesports
Fiorentina are next in the betting thanks to their 2-1 victory at Juventus, but that lead looks awfully slender and they make little appeal as winners of the competition. If they do make it through this tie, it could be a magnificent season for the Viola. They’re in the quarter-finals of the Europa League after beating Roma in the round of 16, and they’re currently 4th in Serie A. That would be enough for Europa League qualification again, but they won’t have given up on closing a six-point gap on Lazio for third place and a Champions League spot. They’re squad is being stretched thin by competing in so many different competitions, but they’re holding up well and have only lost once in fifteen since the end of January. What is surprising is that they’ve only beaten Juventus twice in the last sixteen meetings on home turf, and although a draw will be good enough to see them through, Juventus will give them a huge test.
The Italian champions look to have another title sewn-up with a 14-point lead established at the top of Serie A, and their attention will be on this competition and of course, the Champions League. Juve face Monaco over two legs in the quarter-final after overcoming Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, and will seriously fancy their chances of reaching the semi’s of Europe’s premier competition. For now, the immediate task is overturning an uncharacteristic loss in the first leg of this tie. A massive part of Juve’s success over the last couple of seasons has been their miserly defence, and they’ve only conceded 14 goals in 29 Serie A games. They had a wobble recently where they conceded in six consecutive games, culminating in the first leg defeat, but since then they’ve rediscovered their resoluteness and have won the last five games without letting in a single goal. They need to win here, but if they do, their odds for the trophy will drop significantly, and they look a real touch of value on the basis that we think they can overturn the result here. They haven’t lost an away game since October, and last time on the road they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the Champions League. They have the quality to beat Fiorentina on the night, and take their place in the final. It’s a competition that they are long overdue a win in, as they haven’t lifted the trophy since 1994, and that should give the players extra motivation to complete an historic domestic double.
Lazio are the big outsiders for the cup, but after Juventus, they also look to hold a little bit of value. They face a tough tie away at Napoli after drawing the first leg 1-1, but they are above their opponents in Serie A and are in much better form, so it’s far from a lost cause. Lazio have won seven of their last eight games, and their last four away trips in a row, so they will believe they can get the better of Napoli here. As we mentioned above, they don’t have the best record on this ground, so that counts against them, but anything can happen in the cup.
Juventus are far and away the best side in Italy, as they’ve proved over the last two seasons. With just four sides left in the competition, the odds on the Turin side are too good to turn down, in the belief that they can overturn the 2-1 deficit against Fiorentina on Tuesday night. If they get through to the final, their price will naturally tumble, and the +350 currently on offer will look huge.
To win the Coppa Italia
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