A magnificent performance from 18-year-old Keita Balde took Lazio to victory against Chievo.
It was a traumatic week for the Biancocelesti, as Hernanes joined Inter on deadline day and Coach Edy Reja revealed 10 players turned down transfers to the club. He switched to a 3-4-3 system with Michael Ciani, Abdoulay Konko, Ederson and last-gasp signing Helder Postiga injured, while Federico Marchetti was again not 100 per cent fit and Stefano Mauri banned. Chievo earned a surprise draw away to Napoli last week, but were still hovering above the relegation zone.
It took all of six minutes for Lazio to take the lead, as a ball was rolled in by Keita Balde down the left and Antonio Candreva fired under the bar at the near post, taking advantage of a Dario Dainelli error.
Alberto Paloschi’s looping header skimmed the bar, as did Miroslav Klose when Christian Puggioni mistimed his exit. Dainelli appeared to have picked up an injury before that mistake and went off soon after.
Luis Pedro Cavanda rushed back to stop Paloschi sending Cyril Thereau clear, then Candreva’s free kick was deflected off Andre Dias in the wall and looped up to land on the crossbar.
Lucas Biglia threaded through for Keita, who forced a desperate reaction save out of Puggioni. Chievo were forced into another substitution, as Perparim Hetemaj went off with a bruised hip.
Keita almost made it 2-0 with an inspired backheel flick from six yards, but Puggioni got down quickly to turn it round the base of the near post.
Biglia was distraught, as his late challenge on Gennaro Sardo will suspend him for next week’s Derby della Capitale. Senad Lulic should’ve scored only to fire over from a Candreva cross.
Keita again just failed to turn in from a Candreva assist, but the teenager got his goal eventually when his snapshot took a decisive deflection off Michele Canini to wrong-foot the goalkeeper.
The ex-Barcelona talent almost made it a brace, denied only by a desperate save. Keita was given a standing ovation by the Bentegodi crowd when substituted, as even the Chievo fans acknowledged this star-making turn from the 18-year-old.