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Napoli beats Fiorentina in violence-marred Italian Cup final

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The Canadian Press
5/3/2014 6:12:49 PM
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ROME -- Lorenzo Insigne scored two early goals as Napoli edged Fiorentina 3-1 to win the Italian Cup in a final marred by pre-game violence on Saturday.

A fan was in serious condition following a shooting on the outskirts of Rome before the match.

As a result of the shooting, in which an off-duty police officer was also reportedly injured, the final started 40 minutes late, and there were scenes of violence inside the stadium with a firefighter injured by fireworks thrown from the stands by Napoli supporters.

The pre-kickoff tension didn't seem to bother Napoli, however, as Insigne quickly put the southern squad ahead 2-0.

Insigne's first goal came 11 minutes in with an angled shot that bounced in off the post. He doubled the lead in the 17th by finishing off a counterattack with a shot that deflected in off defender Nenad Tomovic.

Peru midfielder Juan Vargas replied for Fiorentina in the 28th with a blast from the edge of the area.

The Viola nearly equalized in the 45th but a goal from Alberto Aquilani was annulled for offside.

Napoli finished with 10 men when Gokhan Inler picked up his second yellow card for a foul from behind on Josip Ilicic in the 79th.

Ilicic had a golden chance to equalize in the 85th but shot wide.

Napoli substitute Dries Mertens added another goal in the second minute of added time.

"It was a great game," Napoli first-year coach Rafa Benitez said. "It seemed we were in control at the start then they scored but we were able to win with 10 men in the end."

It was the fifth Cup for Diego Maradona's former club, with its last coming in 2012. In Serie A, Napoli sits third.

One positive note for Fiorentina was the return of Giuseppe Rossi, who came on for the final 18 minutes. It was Rossi's first action since January, after his latest knee injury, and boosted his chances of making Italy's World Cup squad.

In the pre-match violence, several other fans were also reportedly injured, although the circumstances of the shootings were not clear.

"I hear that the fan who was shot has been operated on and hopefully is out of danger, so we dedicate this Cup to him," Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said.

Inside the stadium, Napoli captain Marek Hamsik went over to talk with the fans and calm them down before kickoff.

There was more chaos at the final whistle when Napoli fans invaded the pitch to celebrate, although they were quickly brought under control to allow the trophy ceremony to go forward.

"It certainly wasn't a great scene, what we displayed today alongside football," Italian football federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini said. "For a football lover like me, it was an ugly display."

Lorenzo Insigne (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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