SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 38 - 13 May 2012 (19.45 UK)
Lazio 3 - 1 Inter
Milito pen 45 (I), Kozak 58 (L), Candreva 63 (L), Mauri 91 (L)
Stadio Olimpico

Lazio fought back from a goal down to put fourth place under lock and key, as Inter end the campaign in sixth.

This means the Nerazzurri will go into the Europa League via the preliminary round that begins on August 2.

This was a huge showdown for European spots, although when it came to the Champions League they had to wait for news from Catania. If Udinese got at least a point in Sicily, then the Friulani would secure third place, otherwise it was a battle between Inter, Lazio and Napoli.

The Biancocelesti had Federico Marchetti and Andre Dias suspended, joining the injured Hernanes, Francelino Matuzalem, Tommaso Rocchi, Stefan Radu, Emiliano Alfaro, Marius Stankevicius and Cristian Brocchi. Miroslav Klose was a last-minute addition to that list, so Libor Kozak was the only available striker. Inter had Julio Cesar banned plus Wesley Sneijder, Dejan Stankovic, Diego Forlan, Luc Castaignos, Cristian Chivu and Joel Obi injured. Lazio-owned Mauro Zarate was surprisingly dropped in a new 4-1-4-1 system.

Albano Bizzarri had to rush off his line to head Antonio Candreva’s backpass away from Diego Milito, while Walter Samuel charged down a Candreva effort.

Fredy Guarin unleashed a sudden screamer that Bizzarri flew to fingertip out from under the crossbar.

Colombian midfielder Guarin had another great chance when exchanging passes with Milito to force Bizzarri into a save low at the near stick.

Milito really should’ve done better when he turned a free header wide from Douglas Maicon’s cross.

There was controversy just before half-time when the referee awarded a penalty for Cristian Ledesma’s tackle on Maicon. Lazio claimed it was outside the box and replays do not entirely clarify the situation, but contact did seem to be at least on the line. Milito stepped up to convert into the near bottom corner and put Inter in front.

It was almost 2-0 moments later when Milito pounced on a defensive error, but this time Bizzarri was able to clear the danger.

Lazio’s first shot on target came at the 56th minute, Ledesma comfortably smothered by Luca Castellazzi. Soon after, Castellazzi had to palm a dangerous Candreva shot past the far post, as it bounced right in front of the goalkeeper.

The Biancocelesti were threatening and equalised with a trademark Libor Kozak towering header from a corner.

Incredibly, Lazio turned the game around completely, having done precious little for the previous hour. Senad Lulic was allowed to burst down the left relatively undisturbed and pulled back for Candreva’s powerful finish.

Lucio blasted over from a tight angle on a corner, while Bizzarri smothered a Maicon snapshot.

Inter thought they had equalised with 10 minutes left, but Javier Zanetti pulled back from the by-line for Giampaolo Pazzini, whose shot was deflected on to the upright by Giuseppe Biava from point-blank range.

The Nerazzurri were pouring forward, but left gaps at the back and conceded a third in stoppages. Mauri’s through ball sent Kozak clear, whose shot was parried by Castellazzi, but only into the path of Mauri to finish it off.


Lazio: Bizzarri; Scaloni, Diakité, Biava, Konko; Cana, Ledesma; Candreva (Zampa 92), Mauri (Garrido 92), Lulic (Gonzalez 82); Kozak
Inter: Castellazzi; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Cambiasso; Zanetti, Guarin, Poli (Longo 75), Alvarez (Pazzini 61); Milito (Juan Jesus 92)
Ref: Damato