Matri’s cup winner keeps Juve treble alive

An extra-time winner by Alessandro Matri kept Juventus on track for the treble as the Serie A champions ended a 20-year wait for an Italian Cup final victory with a 2-1 win over Lazio on Wednesday.

Matri's cup winner keeps Juve treble alive
Juventus' defender Leonardo Bonucci holds the trophy after winning 2-1 the Italian Tim Cup final match against Lazio. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Juventus were stunned after just four minutes when Stefan Radu rose to beat Marco Storari with a powerful header from a free-kick after Paul Pogba had given away a needless foul on the right flank.

Juve got back on level terms thanks to Giorgio Chiellini's half-volley in the 10th minute.

The match finished all square after 90 minutes but Matri, back on loan at Juve after being sold to Milan in 2013, made the difference when he latched on to Carlos Tevez's lay-off inside the area to bundle past Etrit Berisha in the Lazio net.

Juve held on to their lead amid a tense second period of extra-time to send the black and white half of the Stadio Olimpico into raptures as the champions secured their first league and cup double since 1995.

“It's our first cup trophy in 20 years, so it's obviously special for us,” said Matri.

Juve now just have to focus on the Champions League final against Barcelona in Berlin on June 6th to complete their season and emulate the treble feats of Inter Milan, in 2010.

“It was a great final,” said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri. “Now we just have to keep our focus until June 6th.

“We'll go to Berlin having won the league and the cup, but Barcelona are in great form, just as we are.”

Allegri was missing midfielder Claudio Marchisio and striker Alvaro Morata through suspension, and was also without number one goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whose absence was felt almost immediately when Storari struggled to reach Radu's powerful header from a free-kick on the right.

Yet Juventus, who beat Lazio 3-0 and 2-0 in their Serie A encounters this season, were soon back on level terms.

The fingers of blame had pointed at Chiellini after Radu's opener, but the big Juve defender was in the right place at the right time when Andrea Pirlo fired in a free-kick from 25 metres out on 10 minutes.

Pirlo's curling delivery was headed into the area by Pogba and Chiellini was left enough space to connect and beat Berisha with a close-range volley.

Fernando Llorente fired a header just over Berisha's bar and after Pirlo saw a free-kick blocked and what followed displayed Lazio's threat on the counter.

Tense second half

Brazilian Felipe Anderson carried the ball all the way through the Juve midfield to offload for Danilo Cataldi, forcing Buffon to go down low to collect.

Chances were few in a far more tense second half and Lazio striker Miroslav Klose was almost invisible before being replaced by Felip Djordjevic seven minutes from time.

Instead, Antonio Candreva and Anderson were running the show for the Biancocelesti, albeit with little reward.

Allegri replaced Pogba with Pereyra on 78 minutes and his freshness told immediately, the Argentine tracking back to dispossess Anderson as the Brazilian held possession in a dangerous three-on-three.

Lazio spurned a great chance to claim a late winner, however, when Djordjevic made a complete mess of a one-on-one with Storari.

Matri, who replaced Llorente six minutes from time, had the ball in the net moments after his arrival only for the goal to be ruled offside.

Lazio spurned another great chance to clinch the cup when Djordjevic turned and fired a drive which beat Storari only to come off the near post and rebound across the goalmouth.

But Matri, who has played for four different clubs since joining Juventus in 2011, made the most of his opportunity.

Tevez did well to control a long ball and drew two defenders before laying off for Matri to fire inside Berisha's near post and send the Curva Nord into raptures.

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IN MAPS: A brief introduction to Italy’s many local ‘dialects’

Are the Italians around you speaking a completely different language? Why are local dialects often so far removed from modern Italian? Here's what you need to know.

IN MAPS: A brief introduction to Italy's many local 'dialects'
A man wearing a t-shirt reading ''100% Venetian''. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

It's the problem italian language learners have faced for as long as anyone can remember. You've diligently studied your Italian grammar, and carefully practiced your phrases ahead of your first visit to Italy, only to realise upon arrival that the Italians around you seem to be speaking a different language entirely.

READ ALSO: Ten of the most common Italian language mistakes you should avoid

Italy's dialects are far more than just heavily-accented Italian. They seem like totally different languages because, in fact, that's exactly what they are.

It's not quite correct to call them “dialects”, which are actually variants on a standard language. These are different languages which evolved separately from Latin – or, in some cases, other languages.

And even when they switch to Italian, speakers of these dialects or languages often speak with a heavy accent, much to the dismay of anyone still getting to grips with with basic Italian. Even in a big city like Florence or Rome, Italian spoken in a thick local accent can be hard to decipher – even for native Italian speakers from other areas.

As the map below shows, every region and often province has its own local language. Some have more than one, and each town may also have a variation.

Many of these are part of language “families” and some are more closely related to Italian, or to Latin, than others.

The map below classifies them further and also shows how languages in different regions are connected.

Map: Antonio Ciccolella/Wikimedia Commons

This might look complicated, but anyone who lives in a small italian town will no doubt still be thinking that a more detailed map is needed, as there are actually many more, smaller variations within these categories.

Do people in Italy really still speak all of these dialects?

The language we call Standard Italian derives from 13th-century Florentine. Until then, there had been no written rules, and the languages of what is now Italy had mainly evolved by being spoken.

When Italy was unified in 1861, only 2.5 percent of the population could actually speak the Italian language. All spoke their regional languages. Now, that figure is in the high 90s, though around five percent still speak only or predominantly in their regional language.

While you might imagine that these dialects or languages are mainly used by older people and are slowly dying out, that's not usually the case. 
While they'll also speak standard Italian, you'll find young Italians proudly speaking their local lingo everywhere from central Naples to the valleys of South Tyrol.
Some are far more widely used than others. In fact the most widely spoken is Neapolitan, with over five million speakers today.
The least widely-used is Croato. This dialect is used by an ethnic minority from a region corresponding to present-day Croatia and is spoken in the southern region of Molise. Today it only around 1,000 speakers.
In the southernmost parts of Italy, such as Salento and Calabria, Griko dialects are thought to derive from ancient Greek.
Meanwhile, Sardinian is classified as an “endangered” language by Unesco,  Like Italian, Sardinian has roots in Latin – in fact, some linguists argue that, of all the modern Romance languages, Sardinian is the closest to Latin – but it also displays much older influences. Today, particularly younger people on the island speak a mix of both languages, a sort of “Sarditalian”.
For more details, here are our guides to getting started with some of Italy's regional languages: