Lazio came back twice from a goal down in Arnhem to win 3-2 away to Vitesse in their thrilling Europa League opener.
In the other game in this group, Mario Balotelli was on target as Nice won 5-1 away to Zulte Waregem.
The Aquile started their Europa League campaign without Felipe Anderson, Wallace, Stefan Radu and Luis Nani, while Stefan de Vrij shook off a knock. Felipe Caicedo got his first start for the club.
Bryan Linssen ran on to a dangerous Tim Matavz assist within the opening couple of minutes, but stumbled, allowing Thomas Strakosha to smother at his feet.
Caicedo pounced on a defensive error to hit the side-netting from a tight angle, but Luis Alberto turned a free header wide from Adam Marusic’s cross down the left.
Guram Kashia’s glancing header turned a free kick just wide, though he probably should’ve left it for the teammate behind him.
Luiz Felipe didn’t get enough power on to his header, while De Vrij steered his inches over the bar.
Linssen pulled back on a dangerous counter, but Matavz shinned the finish from 13 yards. The former Genoa flop made up for it soon after, getting in behind Bastos to tap in a long cross from the right by Milot Rashica.
Luis Alberto fired straight at Remko Pasveer and Marusic’s effort could’ve been stronger, but in first half stoppages Caicedo sprung the offside trap and held off his marker only for Kashia to get a crucial deflection over the bar.
Ciro Immobile was introduced for the second half, replacing Luiz Felipe and switching to a four-man defence. A Luis Alberto screamer was fingertipped out from under the bar and Pasveer parried with his foot as Immobile ran on to a through ball.
The move continued and Vitesse made a comedy of errors, unable to clear the ball, until it fell to Marco Parolo for a sweet left-foot volley from the edge of the box.
It was suddenly wide open, as Bruns hit a missile inches past the post, but then the very impressive Rashica again got away from Jordan Lukaku to put in a cross from the right that Linssen met at the far post.
Matavz got away from Bastos and his scorcher was fingertipped over by Strakosha, but Rashica was Man of the Match, again skipping past Lukaku, then back-heeling an assist that Bruns horribly wasted.
Lazio rode their luck and got back on level terms with a well-worked team goal, finalised by Caicedo’s back-heel flick for Immobile and a cool finish. It was his fifth goal in the last three games for club and country.
Matavz was caught on camera – but not by the officials – punching Bastos in the stomach in an off the ball incident, so UEFA could well take action.
Caicedo turned on a sixpence to force a save and Alessandro Murgia completed the comeback to lead 3-2 in Arnhem, taking advantage of comical Maikel van der Werff defending on the edge of the box to fire past a stunned Pasveer. The youth team player had previous, scoring the decider as Lazio beat Juventus 3-2 in the Italian Super Cup last month.
Ex-Inter striker Luc Castaignos should’ve made it 3-3, but nodded a Bruns cross over from a couple of yards.
Vitesse 2-3 Lazio
Matavz 33 (V), Parolo 51 (L), Linssen 57 (V), Immobile 67 (L), Murgia 75 (L)
Vitesse: Pasveer; Dabo (Colkett 83), Kashia, Miazga, Buttner; Bruns (Mount 87), Van Der Werff, Foor; Rashica, Matavz (Castaignos 78), Linssen
Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos, De Vrij, Luiz Felipe (Immobile 46); Marusic, Murgia, Di Gennaro (Milinkovic-Savic 62), Parolo, Lukaku (Lulic 65); Luis Alberto; Caicedo
Ref: Liany (ISR)
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