Lecce were very impressive on Serse Cosmi’s debut, but Miroslav Klose’s brace gave Lazio a 3-2 victory.
It was all change at the Stadio Via del Mare, as Cosmi stepped in to replace Eusebio Di Francesco following three consecutive defeats. The lifelong Roma fan made his debut against old rivals Lazio, who were back on form after crushing Novara 3-0.
Edward Ofere and Moris Carrozzieri joined the suspended Rodney Strasser in the stands, then lost Esposito during the warm-up, so Stefano Ferrario stepped in. David Di Michele and Guillermo Giacomazzi made their comebacks after long lay-offs. The Biancocelesti’s absentee list included Abdoullay Konko, Cristian Brocchi, Stefano Mauri, Javier Garrido, Andre Dias, Luciano Zauri and Francelino Matuzalem.
Luis Muriel and Di Michele exchanged passes in the box to send the Colombian totally clear on goal, but he hesitated and allowed Stefan Radu to block him as he was about to pull the trigger.
There was controversy on 11 minutes when Federico Marchetti came tearing out to clatter into Di Michele’s legs when he sprung the offside trap on a long ball forward due to Mobido Diakite’s error. Lecce were awarded the penalty, but the goalkeeper was only booked when it was a clear scoring opportunity with the Lazio defence nowhere to be seen. Di Michele stepped up and calmly rolled his spot-kick into the near bottom corner, sending Marchetti the wrong way.
Muriel went on a solo run and stung Marchetti’s palms with his left-foot screamer at the near post, then Di Michele tested the goalkeeper with an angled drive set up by Juan Cuadrado, as the Lazio offside trap was regularly torn apart.
However, the visitors equalised at their first real scoring opportunity. Diakitè knocked down a corner for Miroslav Klose to volley low from four yards, as this time the Lecce defence was caught out.
Moments later Senad Lulic threatened to put Lazio in front, but his strike skimmed the woodwork. At the other end, Nenad Tomovic sprung the offside trap on Massimo Oddo’s cross only to balloon over the bar.
Muriel missed an absolute sitter on 38 minutes. The former Udinese man skipped down the right flank and left Diakitè for dead, but somehow pulled the finish wide from eight yards with only Marchetti to beat.
Djibril Cissè and Lorik Cana replaced Tommaso Rocchi and Giuseppe Biava for the second half, switching to a 3-4-3 system.
It proved a masterstroke, as within 120 seconds of being on the pitch, Cana scored his first goal in a Lazio jersey. The Albanian exchanged passes with Klose to burst down the right and flashed his angled drive beneath the diving Benassi at the near post.
Lecce had more bad luck, as substitute Manuel Giandonato was stretchered off and Carlos Grossmuller had to improvise as a defender.
However, the Salentini did get their equaliser after a chaotic free kick. It was not dealt with at all and pinged around the six-yard box for Muriel to flick it back across the face of goal for Ferrario’s free header from point-blank range.
Marchetti ran after a long ball and suddenly pulled up clutching the back of his right thigh, so Juan Pablo Carrizo had to make his comeback. He was immediately tested by a Muriel half-volley, but at the other end Giacomazzi was fortunate to only receive a yellow card for his cynical foul to stop Cissè on the counter.
Klose’s header skimmed the bar from a Cissè cross, but Di Michele wasted the chance for Lecce to go 3-2 up. He shook off Marius Stankevicius and the shot beat Carrizo only to shave a coat of paint off the upright.
It proved costly, as four minutes from time Klose completed his brace by soaring above the crowd to nod in Cisse’s cross.
Klose almost completed his hat-trick moments later, but the unusual attempt to chest the ball into the net failed to surprise Benassi.