Miroslav Klose came off the bench and revived Lazio, scoring and earning a penalty for the 2-0 win over Cagliari.
The tension was sky high at the Olimpico amid reports of Vladimir Petkovic feeling uncertain after defeat to Atalanta and a draw with Apollon Limassol. He had to do without Giuseppe Biava, Abdoulay Konko, Senad Lulic and the suspended Stefano Mauri, while Miroslav Klose and Cristian Ledesma were not fit enough to start. Hernanes was dropped and Bruno Pereirinha a surprise starter. The Sardinians were fresh from beating Catania and chose Mati Cabrera in the hole behind Victor Ibarbo and Marco Sau.
Cagliari had lost their last three visits to Rome. Michael Agazzi smothered at Eddy Onazi’s feet, while Marco Sau couldn’t get enough power on his shot to beat Federico Marchetti and Antonio Candreva’s snapshot bounced wide.
Sau went on the counter and set up Cabrera, whose finish was deflected just off target, then Marchetti rushed off his line to anticipate Davide Astori. Diego Novaretti did enough to force a Victor Ibarbo counter-attack out for a corner.
Lazio finally went close on 28 minutes with Brayan Perea nodding a Candreva cross over from six yards. However, Cagliari remained more dangerous and Radja Nainggolan’s pull-back was just short for Daniele Dessena. Agazzi smothered a Felipe Anderson strike, while Lorik Cana’s header was over the bar.
Cagliari lost Gabriele Perico to a knee injury before half-time, so Francesco Pisano came on for his first appearance since surgery in April.
Lazio were utterly toothless, so Petkovic introduced Klose and Michael Ciani for the second half. It proved to be an inspired substitution, as the German broke the deadlock with a header into the ground on Candreva’s cross that bounced into the far top corner. Klose had scored only twice in the previous 18 Serie A games, not finding the net since August.
Moments later Klose ran to the by-line and was cutting back round Pisano when the defender slid on to it with his hand. The referee awarded a penalty and Candreva sent Agazzi the wrong way to convert.
It was almost 3-0 on 65 minutes when Perea’s header cracked against the upright, but incredibly Klose shinned the rebound wide from six yards.
Astori got a toe to Andrea Cossu’s free kick, making it flash across the face of goal to skim the back post. Daniele Conti was even more dangerous from set plays, Marchetti punching away his fierce free kick and Nainggolan unable to keep the follow-up on target.
Conti should've got one back for Cagliari in stoppages, but steered a free header wide from a corner.