ROME: Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain scored twice to send former club Napoli crashing out of the Italian Cup semi-finals on a night of bitter emotions on Wednesday.
Napoli won the second leg 3-2 but it was little consolation after they had been soundly beaten 3-1 in the first match in Turin as Juventus moved into a final against Lazio.
Whistled and jeered throughout the 1-1 Serie A draw at the same San Paolo ground at the weekend, Argentine star Higuain responded in deadly fashion on Wednesday against the club he controversially quit in the summer.
When he opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a right foot shot, Higuain couldn’t disguise his anger at his treatment, running to celebrate in front of the VIP box and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Higuain made a gesture to the box, indicating that the Napoli chief was to blame for his departure.
Marek Hamsik levelled for Napoli after 53 minutes before Higuain netted his second just five minutes later from a cross by Juan Cuadrado.
Substitute Dries Mertens equalised again for Napoli before Lorenzo Insigne added the winner on the night for the home team even though it proved in vain.
The aggregate win gave Juventus a place in the Italian Cup final for the third successive year and on course for a Serie A and Champions League sweep.
Next week, Massimiliano Allegri’s team face Barcelona in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club tournament.
Lazio reached the Italian Cup final on Tuesday despite losing 3-2 in the second leg to bitter city rivals Roma, advancing 4-2 on aggregate.
A double from Egyptian Mohamed Salah on 66 and 90 minutes added to Stephan El Shaarawy’s goal two minutes before the break to give Roma victory on the night.
But Lazio scored in either half through Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (37) and Italian forward Ciro Immobile (56) to book a third final in five years after beating Roma in 2013 for the title and losing to Juventus two years ago.