Thursday December 7 2017
EL: Lazio lose Zulte Waregem thriller

Lazio fought back from 2-0 down with a Lucas Leiva back-heel flick on Felipe Anderson’s comeback, but capitulated 3-2 at Zulte Waregem.

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The Aquile were already qualified top of their group, so rested numerous star names in Belgium. It was a return home for Jordan Lukaku, while Luis Nani and Davide Di Gennaro were injured.

Ivan Vargic had an early scare, rushing off his line to clear at the feet of Nill De Pauw, but the goalkeeper was caught napping when he reacted slowly to a De Pauw header, flapping it into the top corner.

Onur Kaya’s snapshot from distance tested Vargic, but Lazio wasted a massive opportunity when Felipe Caicedo only scuffed a cross and Luca Crecco hit a fresh-air shot from six yards.

Simone Palombi had the ball in the net for what he thought was the equaliser, but he’d wandered offside on the Bastos diving header.

Vargic almost gifted Zulte Waregem a second on the stroke of half-time, his awful throw straight at De Pauw on the edge of the area and the Belgians were unable to take advantage.

Felipe Anderson made his first appearance of the season after a series of muscular problems, coming off the bench for the last 35 minutes.

Jordan Lukaku shrugged off Sandy Walsh and Louis Bostyn did just enough to make his finish hit the side-netting from close range. Patric was furious, as Leya Iseka appeared to elbow him in the ribs, but the referee only told the pair off.

On the resulting Hamaleinen corner, Zulte Waregem doubled their lead, as Michael Heylen got in front of Luiz Felipe and Caicedo to volley in at the near post from close range.

Felipe Anderson made an immediate impact, bursting down the right for a dangerous cross punched away and Lucas Leiva put it back in for Felipe Caicedo’s header at the back post.

Another Felipe Anderson through ball sent Palombi clear to hit the woodwork, but the youth team player had drifted offside. Wallace also made his return from injury, but was fortunate the referee waved play on when he seemed to pull back De Pauw running clear on goal.

Lazio completed the comeback in extraordinary fashion, as Felipe Anderson chipped up a free kick for Palombi and it ricocheted into the path of Lucas Leiva who, facing away from goal, scored with a sensational back-heel flick from six yards.

However, Zulte restored their advantage when Iseka turned on the edge of the area and unleashed a scorcher into the near top corner.

Zulte Waregem 3-2 Lazio

De Pauw 7 (Z), Heylen 60 (Z), Caicedo 67 (L), Lucas Leiva 76 (L), Iseka 83 (Z)

Zulte Waregem: Bostyn; Heylen, De Fauw, Baudry; Walsh (Saponjic 86), Doumbia (De Sart 46), Kaya, Madu (Hamalainen 46); Coopman; De Pauw, Iseka

Lazio: Vargic; Patric, Luiz Felipe (Wallace 64), Bastos; Basta, Miceli, Murgia (Felipe Anderson 55), Crecco (Lucas Leiva 55), Lukaku; Palombi, Caicedo

Ref: Kalogeropoulos (GRE)

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