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Conte: We deserved victory

Vanquished Juventus coach Antonio Conte believes his side deserved a better outcome than a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Lazio in the Coppa Italia.

The Serie A rivals were locked 1-1 after the first leg in Turin, but a dramatic 93rd-minute Sergio Floccari strike cancelled an equally late Arturo Vidal leveler, handing the 2-1 win, and the tie, to the Rome club.

The late drama, a near 40-minute wait from Lazio's Alvaro Gonzalez opener, forced a jubilant Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic to describe the match as a 'crazy game'.

However, a defiant Conte insisted his squad 'deserved much more' despite notching only a draw and a loss over the two legs.

"We were the better side over the 180 minutes through both matches," Conte said. "In any case, this is football and sometimes it hurts.

"We're sorry because we wanted to get to the final match. I congratulate Lazio since they have managed to win, but we are obviously very disappointed to go out of the cup."

Conte's belief his side was the stronger of the two teams was highlighted by his decision to leave star midfield duo Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo on the bench.

But Conte defended the absence of the Italian internationals, claiming injury was the reason behind their omissions.

"If Marchisio and Pirlo had played from the beginning we might not have had had the right intensity," he said. "Marchisio had played two consecutive matches and had recovered from an injury, therefore he couldn't start his third match in seven days, it was too much of a risk.

"Pirlo had recovered from his injury and we couldn't start him either, in order not to risk his availability in the match against Chievo. Therefore they were forced changes for me but I would have made them in any case as I have to rest players."

Petkovic meanwhile was full of praise for his team, singling out goalkeeper Federico Marchetti for special mention after strong saves denied Juventus right at the death.

"We deserve this joy and must always play at this level, as a great team cannot afford dips in intensity during a season," Petkovic said. "The squad is really growing and tonight's performance proved it against a strong side like Juventus.

"Marchetti is having a fantastic season, not just in the individual saves, but the way he does his work and he is a reference point in the locker room."

Lazio will meet either Roma or Inter Milan in the final.


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