Lazio fought back to secure second spot with a controversial 2-1 win over nine-man Cagliari, as there were doubts over the decisive penalty.
The Biancocelesti were eager to hold on to second place and a win would match Sven Goran Eriksson’s Scudetto-winning pace of 39 points at the midway stage. Ederson and Marius Stankevicius were injured with Mauro Zarate frozen out. The visitors had lost five in a row, but missed the suspended Davide Astori and Francesco Pisano, plus Mauricio Pinilla and Lorenzo Ariaudo, so 17-year-old Dario Del Fabro started in defence.
Lazio had a great chance after 16 minutes, as Hernanes curled a long-range free kick on to the crossbar as Michael Agazzi back-pedalled furiously.
However, moments later Radja Nainggolan won back possession in midfield to spark a Victor Ibarbo counter-attack. It was rolled back across for Nainggolan, whose shot from eight yards got a touch off Federico Marchetti and Andre Dias needed a goalline clearance to keep it out.
Luca Rossettini risked an own goal with his deflection on Miroslav Klose, but Agazzi blocked with one strong hand. Agazzi also stopped a Senad Lulic angled drive and Cagliari Coach Ivo Pulga was sent off for dissent.
Another long-range Hernanes snapshot was too central, but Klose should’ve scored on 38 minutes when he sprung the offside trap from a Hernanes pass and dribbled round Agazzi, but narrowed the angle too much and his finish rolled across an open goal.
Andre Dias was booked for hauling down Marco Sau on the counter-attack, as Stefan Radu was behind him so it could not be considered a clear scoring opportunity.
Straight after the restart a corner got a glancing header off Radu or perhaps even Del Fabro, cracking against the far post with Giuseppe Biava just a fraction of a second too late to get the final touch.
Hernanes drilled wide from a Klose assist, but it was Cagliari who broke the deadlock against the run of play.
A cross-field pass found Sau, who dribbled along the edge of the box past Radu and Andre Dias only to pick his spot with a precise angled strike into the far bottom corner of the net. That was the first goal Marchetti has conceded in all competition for 606 minutes of football.
Vladimir Petkovic wanted to protect their 11-match unbeaten run and made a double substitution with Michael Ciani and Sergio Floccari.
Antonio Candreva pounced on a poor clearance to force a save out of Agazzi, but from that corner Lazio got their equaliser. A Biava header looped into the air and Abdoullay Konko came sliding in to redirect it at the base of the back post.
The home side’s tails were up now and Agazzi needed two touches to control a Biava header. The Cagliari goalkeeper was booked for time-wasting, but soon after he came tearing out to clatter into Klose on the counter. The referee awarded a penalty and a second yellow card. Cagliari were furious, as they pointed out Klose had already kicked the ball to land on the roof of the net, so any contact with Agazzi was irrelevant. Andrea Cossu took his protests too far and was sent off.
Candreva took spot-kick duties and kept his cool to bury it into the bottom corner despite Vlada Avramov guessing the right direction.
Sent off: Agazzi 84 (C), Cossu 85 (C)