EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Treble-chasing Juventus win record third successive Italian Cup

Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci score a goal apiece in the 2-0 victory over Lazio.

Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci struck one apiece as treble-chasing Juventus secured a record third successive Italian Cup with a 2-0 victory over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Juventus, who won a league and Cup double the past two seasons, can clinch a record sixth consecutive Serie A title – and a record third double – with victory at home to Crotone on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men also face Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3 and on this showing the Spanish giants will have cause for concern.

Days after seeing their title celebrations put on hold at the Stadio Olimpico following a 3-1 defeat to Lazio’s city rivals Roma, Juventus were back their formidable best.

And Allegri said he expects more of the same on Sunday.

“This win has given us a boost for Sunday. We absolutely have to wrap up the championship,” said Allegri.

“The lads delivered a great technical and defensive performance that has more than made up for last week against Roma.”

Bonucci said: “Sunday is another final for us. We have to secure our second objective of the season, then we’ll all start looking to Cardiff.”

Lazio, whose last trophy came from their 2013 Cup triumph, had hoped to emulate Roma by sending Juventus back to Turin with their tails between their legs.

But despite a battling display by Simone Inzaghi’s men, Lazio spurned their few chances, and were outplayed by the slick, passing play inspired by Argentinian playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Inzaghi refused to fault his players, saying: “There’s some bitterness, but we came up against a top Juve side.

“I’m sorry we haven’t given joy to the fans and the players, but we have to look positively at our season.

“We’ve qualified for the Europa League with three games to spare and, apart from that, reaching the final is the best thing we’ve done this season.”

The sizeable Lazio support were given hope in the opening minutes when Keita Balde saw his shot from a tight angle, which evaded ‘keeper Norberto Neto, come off the post.

The scare was enough to jolt Juve into life.

Acrobatic Save

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who went on to spurn several chances to add to Juve’s tally, controlled well outside the area and unleashed a volley that Thomas Strakosha did well to block.

Strakosha pulled off an acrobatic save out the bag to stop Paulo Dybala’s long-range effort, the first of many in a performance that underlined the 22-year-old Albanian’s talents.

On the quarter-hour, Lazio piled on the pressure, but when Balde’s cross into the area went awry it sent Juventus on a quick counter that left the capital side exposed.

Strakosha palmed Dybala’s ferocious strike to safety, and when it fell to Higuain three yards out he kept the Argentina striker’s effort out with his legs.

When Lazio were caught deep in Juve territory soon after, it exacted a heavier toll.

Dybala struck the corner, Alex Sandro flicked on towards the near post and Bonucci had an easy job tapping past Strakosha from close range.

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Minutes before the interval, play was waved on when Thomas Rincon was left injured in midfield, and it almost paid off for Lazio when Ciro Immobile sent a header inches past Neto’s upright.

Juve resumed in similar fashion, a combination of vertical passes between Dybala and Higuain sending Mario Mandzukic through until the big Croatian came down under a challenge from Wallace.

Inzaghi tinkered when he replaced Angolan defender Bastos with Brazilian forward Felipe Anderson, who only seconds later forced a great parry from Neto following an angled snap shot.

Anderson was involved again when Lazio edged even closer, collecting Dusan Basta’s smart ball to cross for Immobile at the back post.

The striker rode on Chiellini’s back to get his head to the ball, which came off the defender and was somehow kept out by an alert Neto.

Juve should have had more, but Dutch defender Stefan De Vrij did well to stop Dybala and Higuain spurned two great chances late on to get his name on the scoresheet.

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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.