Sunday March 22 2020
On this day: Mihajlovic's wonder-goal downs Chelsea

On this day in 2000, Lazio’s Sinisa Mihajlovic scored a stunning free kick at Stamford Bridge to defeat Chelsea in the Champions League.

The Biancocelesti were amongst one of the favourites for the competition, and had sailed through the first group stage to qualify for the second.

In the second group stage, they were drawn against Chelsea, Marseille and Feyenoord

By the time the pair met for the second time on the last day of Group D, Lazio were second in the group behind the Premier League side.

In the previous encounter, the two sides had played out a goalless draw at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio’s penultimate game in the group had ended in a 5-1 win against Marseille, with Simone Inzaghi netting four times, the first and only time an Italian has done so in the competition.

A win for Lazio would see them win the group ahead of Gianluca Vialli’s side.

Both sides spurned chances to take the lead, with Mihaljovic going close through one of his set-piece specialities, but it seemed Chelsea didn’t heed the warning signs.

Zola also went close for Chelsea, before The Blues took the lead.

Pavel Nedved lost the ball to former Juventus midfielder Didier Deschamps in midfield, and the ball fell to Gus Poyet.

The Uruguayan ran towards the Lazio goal and his shot took a deflection off of Mihaljovic that caught Luca Marchegiani off guard, and into the corner of the Lazio goal.

Less than 10 minutes after the re-start and Lazio pulled level.

Good work from Alen Boksic deep in Chelsea’s half found Diego Simeone, who rolled the ball onwards for Nedved.

Nedved’s first touch was a little heavy, taking him away from goal, however he pulled the ball back for Inzaghi, who nipped a foot in front of Marcel Desailly to equalise.

Soon, Lazio would be in front.

The Biancocelesti won a free kick on the periphery of the home side’s penalty box, close to the by-line. Mihajlovic shaped to shoot.

Chelsea stopper Ed De Goey, like most, expected a cross. He thought wrong.

The Serbian pulled his traction-engine of a left foot back and bent a sublime free kick into the far top corner of the goal with pace and venom.

It was vintage Mihajlovic.

Both sides were waste more chances, with the away side clearing the ball off the line in the dying seconds of the game.

Lazio secured the win and top spot in the group, but not before Fernando Couto was sent off.

Both sides qualified for the quarter-final, with Lazio meeting Valencia, whilst Chelsea would draw Barcelona.

It would be the end of the road for both sides.

1999-00 proved to be Lazio’s best season in Europe’s elite competition, and haven’t come close to reaching the final eight since.

Chelsea would win the tournament in 2012, but were an entirely different club by that point.

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