An unrecognisable Lazio were absolutely crushed in Sicily, as Catania registered a spectacular 4-0 victory.
There was a tense atmosphere at the Stadio Massimino, as home fans waved white handkerchiefs in the classic ‘pañolada’ protest against refereeing errors. They were also irritated at having conceded a last-gasp equaliser to Udinese midweek and had the usual list of long-term absentees. Lazio’s momentum took a big knock with one point from the last two games and Miroslav Klose was suspended with Ederson and Federico Marchetti still injured. At least Hernanes and Cristian Ledesma returned from bans, while Tommaso Rocchi got a rare start.
Lazio started strong and Mariano Andujar beat away a dangerous cross with Rocchi firing the follow-up wide.
However, Papu Gomez gave Catania the lead with an absolutely sensational strike! He surged forward from midfield down the left and hit his screamer into the near top corner from a seemingly impossible angle. Goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri seemed to let it go, assuming it would hit the side-netting, but it somehow squeezed in.
Antonio Candreva’s cross-shot turned into an assist that Stefano Mauri flicked just wide with his heel, then Bizzarri was at full stretch to palm a Pablo Barrientos daisy-cutter inches past the far post.
Andre Dias blocked the ball with his arm in the penalty area after Pedro Cavanda’s error had sparked a Mariano Izco counter, leading to an inevitable spot-kick. Francesco Lodi stepped up and sent Bizzarri the wrong way to double the Sicilians’ lead.
However, there was bad news for Catania as Gonzalo Bergessio went off with a calf injury.
It didn’t break their stride, as Gomez added a third for the Elefantini. Giovanni Marchese’s cross found Gomez at full stretch to volley in at the back post and the goal line referee got it right by spotting the clearance was already over the line.
Lazio fought back and Candreva stung Andujar’s palms at the near post, but they seemed to be in disarray. Petkovic replaced the disappointing Hernanes and Cavanda for a 4-3-1-2 system.
Mauri’s long-range strike and a Dias header made little impact on the solid 3-0 lead. In fact, a Marchese rocket and Doukara header tested Bizzarri.
Catania added a fourth on the rapid counter-attack, as Gomez shook off Konko to run on to a long ball in the centre-circle and rolled a perfect assist that Pablo Barrientos only had to tap in from five yards.
The Biancocelesti flopped like a balloon with a hole in it, as Lodi grazed the woodwork with an attempt at a fifth goal.
Andujar did have some work to do late on with long-range hopeful strikes from Candreva and Mauri.