Senad Lulic was the hero as Lazio secured a 3-1 Supercoppa Italiana triumph over Serie A champion Juventus.
Just over two weeks on from defeating the Bianconeri by the same score in the league, Lazio was once again the scourge of Maurizio Sarri’s men in Riyadh.
Experienced captain Lulic was influential, playing a huge part in Luis Alberto’s opener and guiding home a second-half strike on the volley after Paulo Dybala had levelled shortly before the break.
Danilo Cataldi scored an unstoppable free-kick, the awarding of which saw Rodrigo Bentancur sent off for a second bookable offence, to round out the win as Lazio, which also defeated Juve in the 2017 Supercoppa, won the prize for the fifth time.
Lazio was ahead after 17 minutes when Lulic did brilliantly to deliver a cross to the back post where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic teed up Luis Alberto to apply the close-range finish.
Juve was stirred by that setback and Cristiano Ronaldo fired wide before Dybala went agonisingly close with a free-kick from the edge of the box.
Lazio’s resistance was broken on the stroke of half-time, Dybala tapping in the rebound after Ronaldo’s low drive was parried by Thomas Strakosha.
Dybala almost put Juve ahead when he dragged wide just after the break, while Joaquin Correa headed off target from point-blank range from a Lazio corner.
But Simone Inzaghi’s side was back in front after 73 minutes. Marco Parolo flicked on Manuel Lazzari’s right-wing cross and Lulic brilliantly finished past Wojciech Szczesny at the back post.
Correa had a breakaway effort ruled out for offside but Cataldi saw a superb free-kick crash in off the underside of the crossbar after Bentancur was dismissed for chopping down Correa in a frantic finish.
Sarri has faced constant questions from the Italian media this season as to whether he would use Ronaldo, Dybala – who with four goals is now the all-time leading scorer in Supercoppa history – and Gonzalo Higuain in the same starting line-up.
The Supercoppa was the ideal opportunity for that experiment but the trio were often trying to play in the same central spaces, which meant Juve at times lacked width and were a tad one-dimensional.
Lazio, which sits third in Serie A, was organised and well drilled. Lulic was a prime example of that and the skipper made a couple of vital contributions for Inzaghi’s side.
With Sarri having employed Dybala, Ronaldo and Higuain, the onus was on Mattia De Sciglio and Alex Sandro to provide width from full-backs.
Neither man really did that job to great effect and the former was hauled off after 55 minutes for Juan Cuadrado.
Juve returns to Serie A action with a home clash against Cagliari on January 6, a day after Lazio visits Brescia.