Lazio’s hopes of staying in the Europa League are very slim after a 1-0 home defeat to tournament specialists Sevilla.
The Aquile went into the Europa League Round of 32 first leg without injured Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile, so Joaquin Correa and Luis Alberto faced their former club, with Felipe Caicedo as the centre-forward. Sevilla dropped down from the Champions League, but were the most successful side in the history of the Europa League, winning it on five previous occasions. They made the trip without Maxime Gonalons, Nolito, Joris Gnagnon, Aleix Vidal and suspended defender Maximilian Wöber.
Sevilla took the lead by carving the Aquile defence apart with relative ease, as a series of passes culminated in the Pablo Sarabia roll across from the left for Wassim Ben Yedder to tap in, as he had snuck up behind Francesco Acerbi.
Lazio thought they’d equalised when Adam Marusic’s shot seemed to squirm under Vaclik’s body, but the goalkeeper got just enough on it to slow down the ball and allow Simon Kjaer to clear off the line.
Lucas Leiva ran a huge risk with a tackle right on the edge of the penalty area, so close to the line that it would’ve gone to VAR if that was applicable in the Europa League.
To make matters worse, Lazio lost Luis Alberto to injury on the stroke of half-time and Marco Parolo did not come back out for the second half after turning his ankle.
Caicedo drilled just wide of the near post after a strong Correa run, but Simone Inzaghi lost another player to injury, Bastos with an apparent groin strain. His replacement, Luiz Felipe, almost scored with his first touch, but horribly ballooned over the bar as he slid on to a free kick.
Acerbi made a decisive block to stop Sergio Escudero scoring after a poor Thomas Strakosha punch on the corner, while Milan-owned Andre Silva turned a free header over the bar.
Lucas Leiva fired wide from the edge of the area and had the time and space to pick his spot better. Senad Lulic’s cross-shot was flapped away with difficulty and the resulting Sevilla counter was ruined by a handling offence in a frantic finale.
Lazio 0-1 Sevilla
Ben Yedder 22 (S)
Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos (Luiz Felipe 57), Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Parolo (Cataldi 46), Leiva, Luis Alberto (Durmisi 44), Lulic; Correa, Caicedo
Sevilla: Vaclik; Mercado, Kjaer, Sergi Gomez; Jesus Navas, Sarabia (Amadou 83), Banega, Vazquez, Escudero (Promes 75); Andre Silva, Ben Yedder (Munir 70)
Ref: Vincic (SLO)