Nicola Legrottaglie gave Catania a remarkable victory over Lazio that puts them right in the push for Europe.
These two teams have been the revelations of Serie A this season, as the Elefantini were in eighth place and in the race for a Europa League spot, while the Biancocelesti sat in the third Champions League berth. Lazio clung to their position despite a 3-1 home defeat to Bologna last week, which saw them go down to nine men. Because of that, Alejandro Gonzalez and Francelino Matuzalem were suspended, joining the injured Javier Garrido, Marius Stankevicius and Senad Lulic. At least Lionel Scaloni and Giuseppe Biava returned from their bans, while Cristian Brocchi and Stefan Radu came back from injury.
Catania have been spectacular under former Roma Coach Vincenzo Montella, who had to do without Marco Biagianti, Alessandro Potenza and Marco Motta for this game. It was a special match for former Lazio goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Alejandro Gomez had the ball in the back of the net in the opening minute, but was flagged offside. Catania should’ve scored at the 12th when Francesco Lodi’s cross to the back post found Gomez unmarked, but his header skimmed the upright from a yard.
The first real Lazio opportunity came after 26 minutes, as Stefano Mauri ran on to a long Cristian Ledesma ball and hit the half-volley just wide. Catania saw more of the ball, though, as Gonzalo Bergessio’s header skimmed the bar from a Mariano Izco cross.
Sergio Almiron wasted an incredible chance, as he sprung the offside trap and tried to dribble round Federico Marchetti, but his touch was far roo heavy and he took it out of play when he had the opportunity to shoot or even roll across to Pablo Barrientos.
Lazio thought they had scored on the stroke of half-time when Andre Dias got a downward header from the Ledesma free kick palmed off the line by Carrizo, but play had been halted for an incorrect offside flag. In any case, replays suggest the ball did not completely cross the line.
Hernanes managed to squeeze a shot between two defenders to the near stick, but Carrizo did well to block. It was wide open in the second half, as Marchetti flew to catch an Almiron curler, then Nicola Legrottaglie also managed to charge down from Miroslav Klose in a dangerous scoring opportunity.
Klose was at full stretch to get on the end of a long Ledesma pass, but Nicolas Spolli stuck to him like glue to put the German international off.
The deadlock was eventually broken 11 minutes from time by defender Legrottaglie, who came forward for a corner and volleyed in with his right foot from eight yards across Marchetti.
Andre Dias was inevitably booked for a body-check to stop Cristian Llama surging forward on the counter. Catania almost scored an own goal in the final minute, as Lodi hit the upright with a defensive header.
In stoppages, Lazio Coach Edy Reja was sent off for dissent, as Lazio failed their late fightback.