Can Conte End His Cup Curse Against Mourinho?
Can Antonio Conte End His Cup Curse Against Jose Mourinho?
Antonio Conte is yet to win a major domestic cup and his failures in the cups were even as ‘cup curse’. Today, he comes up against Jose Mourinho, who is an expert in cup finals. Read all about the two rival’s different cup fortunes here.
Chelsea have once again teamed up with Shield South Africa to give one talented South African the chance of a trip of a life-time. In addition, Orlando Pirates have come on board in the second year of the Sbonis'iDiski campaign to offer the winner a professional contract with the Buccaneers' MDC team. As part of the campaign, Soccer Laduma brings you a preview of tonight's FA Cup final.
Conte’s coaching career has been on the rise ever since he took charge of Juventus in 2011. They finished his first campaign in the dugout unbeaten in Serie A and were the favourites in the Coppa Italia final against Napoli but lost 2-0. The following campaign, Juventus once again ran away with the Serie A title, but were eliminated from the Coppa Italia in the semi-final against Lazio, with Conte prioritizing league football over the Italian cup. He completed a hat trick of Serie A titles in 2013/14, setting a new record with 102 points, but he had once again sacrificed cup success for the league, as his side were knocked out in the quarter-final against AS Roma. Conte’s inability in the Coppa Italia made the headlines in Italian media as la maledizione della Coppa Italia (‘The curse of the Coppa Italia’).
Conte’s cup curse continued even after his move to England where he ran away with the Premier League title in his first season. Despite dominating the league, Chelsea were knocked out of the English League Cup against West Ham in the fourth round. In the FA Cup, the Blues did reach the final but were beaten by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. This season Chelsea were eliminated from the Carabao Cup (the English League Cup) by Arsenal but they did manage to qualify for their second successive FA Cup final, where Conte’s cup curse will be tested against none other than his archenemy Mourinho.
The Portuguese has not only been in a public war of words with the Italian since his arrival in England, he is also – much opposite to Conte – a serial winner in cup finals. Mourinho reached 14 major cup finals during his time with Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United, and has won an impressive 12 of them. The Red Devils boss has claimed the domestic cup in each of the four countries he has worked in. In addition, Mourinho has also lifted two Champions League and two Europa League titles, but – equally to Conte at Chelsea – only has one final chance to prevent a trophyless season.
Mourinho won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2006/07, beating Liverpool after extra-time, and could become only the third manager in history to win the competition with two different clubs.
For an in-depth FA Cup preview, where we also looked at Conte and Mourinho's public war of words and where it comes from, as well as Africans, who have starred in the compeition, as well as Quinto Fortune's predicition for the game buy this week's Soccer Laduma, issue 1072.