Lazio squeezed through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals after a stoppage-time 3-2 victory over Hellas Verona.
The Biancocelesti rested Miroslav Klose, giving Djibril Cissè another opportunity to break his four-month goal drought. However, it was Serie B side Hellas Verona who created the first scare, as in the opening minute Albano Bizzarri had to parry a Sasa Bjelanovic header.
Hernanes took a very long time to get into gear, especially when it came to set pieces, as he even kicked a corner directly out of play. Tommaso Rocchi and Cristian Ledesma tested goalkeeper Rafael, while Giuseppe Sculli drilled just wide of the upright.
There was a breakthrough on the stroke of half-time when Andre Dias got in front of his marker to turn in Ledesma’s corner at the back post.
Cissè had a couple of chances, one off target and the other saved by Rafael, before Rocchi doubled Lazio’s lead with a left-foot strike that took a decisive deflection off Giuseppe Pugliese.
The Biancocelesti thought they had the tie sewn up, but moments later Emanuele Berrettoni put Verona back in it with a towering header from Pugliese’s cross, as the Lazio defence was caught ball-watching.
Klose came off the bench and almost immediately forced a tough save out of Rafael, then saw Alejandro Gonzalez fire the follow-up off target.
Lazio were made to pay for their complacency, as Verona completed the comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2. Substitute (and Roma youth product) Marco D’Alessandro ran on to a Berrettoni through ball to stun Bizzarri. Again, the defence left a lot to be desired.
Klose blasted a good opportunity over the bar, but just as extra time seemed inevitable, Hernanes curled a wonderful free kick in at the near post to take Rafael by surprise. It was also remarkable considering the Brazilian had been very poor up until this moment of magic.
Lazio will face either Milan or Novara in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.
Lazio 3-2 Verona
Scorers: Dias 44 (L), Rocchi 57 (L), Berrettoni 61 (V), D’Alessandro 74 (V), Hernanes 91 (L)
Lazio: Bizzarri; Cavanda (Matuzalem 77), Diakitè, Dias, Lulic; Gonzalez, Ledesma, Sculli (Del Nero 84); Hernanes; Cissè (Klose 66), Rocchi
Hellas Verona: Rafael; Abbate, Ceccarelli, Mareco, Pugliese; Russo, Esposito (Pichlmann 92), Hallfredsson; Galli (Berrettoni 55); Lepiller (D’Alessandro 68), Bjelanovic
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