Verona twice fought back from a goal down, but 10-man Lazio snatched a 3-3 draw in stoppages despite a penalty save.
This was practically a play-off for a Europa League spot, as the teams went in locked together on 52 points. Miroslav Klose was back on the bench after almost a month out, but Federico Marchetti, Helder Postiga and Ederson missed out, so Stefano Mauri started as a ‘False 9.’ Hellas were without Domenico Maietta, Raphael Martinho, Massimo Donati and Bosko Jankovic, but Luca Toni was more determined than ever to target the Capocannoniere title at the age of 36.
An early Antonio Candreva cross-shot was palmed out from under the bar, but Toni missed a golden opportunity for Verona. He ran on to Emil Hallfredsson’s assist only to drill wide with only Etrit Berisha to beat.
Keita Balde Diao tested Rafael from distance, while Marquinho turned Abdoulay Konko to fire just over the bar.
It was Lazio who broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark with a classic counter-attack. Candreva ran on to a Mauri through ball and rolled across for unmarked Keita to keep his cool with the finish.
However, Verona equalised with a player very familiar to this stadium, as he is on loan from Roma. Marquinho found the net for the second game running, placing a daisy-cutter into the far bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The hosts hit back immediately, as Mauri nodded a cross back from the by-line for Senad Lulic, but a desperate Pillud clearance prevented him from getting the touch. The referee then stopped play for a push before Lucas Biglia’s follow-up went in.
There was another chaotic move moments later, as Lazio couldn’t get the final shot away despite Verona’s poor attempts to clear. Straight after the restart, Keita whipped in a cross from the left that Mauri couldn’t quite make clean contact with from six yards. Another Mauri header was powerful, but over the bar, from a free kick.
Vangelis Moras was even more threatening in the air, his towering header turning a corner inches wide of the upright with Berisha rooted to the spot.
Biglia’s snapshot was charged down, but Senad Lulic restored Lazio’s lead on the hour. It was a well-worked goal, a give-and-go with Keita to burst into the box and smash on the volley at the near post.
Verona fought back again as Berisha had his gloves stung by a Hallfredsson screamer from distance and Juan Manuel Iturbe drew level. The young Argentine ran on to a through ball and placed the angled drive across Berisha.
It was wide open, as Verona went on the counter only for Toni to fire straight at the goalkeeper. Michelangelo Albertazzi went incredibly close to putting Hellas in front when his header from a corner clipped the outside of the upright.
Verona were piling on more pressure and took the lead thanks to a howler, as two defenders allowed a Hallfredsson cross to come through for Romulo’s tap-in from six yards. It was disastrous defending from Lazio, who found themselves behind for the first time.
The tension got to Lulic, who received a straight red card for his shockingly poor challenge on Iturbe, hacking him down at thigh height.
Berisha performed a crucial save to stop Toni getting Verona a fourth on the counter and it proved decisive, as deep into stoppages Albertazzi was sent off for clipping Klose’s heels.
Mauri stepped up and saw his penalty parried by Rafael, but the goalkeeper could do nothing on the rebound. It was remarkably similar to a game a few weeks ago that saw Lazio snatch a 3-3 draw with Torino after trailing 3-2 with 10 men in stoppages.
Sent off: Lulic 87 (L), Albertazzi 92 (V)
Saved penalty: Mauri 93 (L)