Lazio fought back twice to win 3-2 away to Udinese with only 10 men after some bizarre goals and howlers.
Both sides were eager to turn around poor form. The Friulani had Gabriel Silva and Allan suspended after their ill-tempered 3-0 defeat to Sampdoria, while Luis Muriel was back on the bench after two months out injured. Stefan Radu, Abdoulay Konko, Alvaro Gonzalez and the banned Cristian Ledesma and Stefano Mauri missed out for Lazio, while Federico Marchetti was still not fit to start. Edy Reja switched to a 3-4-1-2 system with Antonio Candreva behind Miroslav Klose and Sergio Floccari.
Etrit Berisha was in goal again and had a huge scare after five minutes, as Roberto Pereyra skipped past two defenders and his pull-back was intercepted by Giuseppe Biava, but would’ve gone into his own net had it not bounced off the goalkeeper’s chest from point-blank range.
Moments later Udinese had earned a penalty, as Pedro Luis Cavanda tripped Maicosuel when he burst into the box again down the left flank. Antonio Di Natale converted coolly low at the near post for his first Serie A goal since October and he was visibly moved at breaking this drought.
That early goal confirmed the statistic that this fixture has not ended goalless since November 1992. Zeljko Brkic made his comeback after a neck problem and was very shaky when coming out to kick from Klose to avoid a potential back-pass situation.
Eddy Onazi and Senad Lulic had shots desperately charged down in the box in quick succession, then Floccari couldn’t quite get his audacious back-heel flick volley under control. Floccari just failed to get on the end of a Candreva pull-back across the six-yard box, then Candreva drilled wide from the D and Brkic smothered a weak Floccari attempt.
It should’ve been 2-0 on 41 minutes when Maicosuel went on a rapid counter-attack past the only two remaining defenders, but prodded his finish wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Straight after the restart Di Natale’s reverse pass sent Emmanuel Badu clear, but Senad Lulic crucially intercepted. From the resulting corner, Dusan Basta turned a free header over the bar.
Lazio went down to 10 men, as Eddy Onazi received a second yellow card in quick succession for a late challenge on Roberto Pereyra at the touchline.
The referee was rather harsh when awarding Lazio a penalty, as Klose seemed to be running away from the goal when he fell under the combined pressure of Brkic and Maurizio Domizzi. Ex-Udinese midfielder Candreva converted a powerful spot-kick to equalise.
The 10-man Biancocelesti were now fired up and Ederson curled just past the far post, but Udinese restored their advantage thanks to an absolute stunner.
Badu chested down the ball on the edge of the box and smashed a superb volley with the outside of the right boot that flew into the far top corner, leaving Berisha with no chance.
Klose turned a free header wide at the back post, surprisingly mis-timing his jump on Ederson’s cross, then Brkic flapped at another assist and was fortunate Hernanes had the follow-up deflected out for a corner.
Hernanes unleashed a powerful effort that stung Brkic’s palms and it was the Udinese goalkeeper who handed Lazio their equaliser. He came out to punch a cross into the crowd and it bounced into the net off Andrea Lazzari’s shin.
Moments later, Ederson’s fresh-air shot proved very costly indeed, as he collapsed clutching his hamstring.
Despite it all, Lazio managed to turn the game around completely to win 3-2 in the final minute. Substitute Hernanes had a point to prove and blasted under the bar from the edge of the penalty area to put the 10-man Biancocelesti in front for the first time.
Sent off: Onazi 54 (L)