Ciro Immobile bagged a brace and Marco Parolo got his first Champions League goal, as Lazio beat Zenit 3-1 to take a big step towards the Round of 16.
The Aquile were still unbeaten in their Champions League group and just one point off leaders Borussia Dortmund, despite having a decimated squad for the last two games. Ciro Immobile returned at the weekend, but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was now ruled out by COVID, with Thomas Strakosha and Gonzalo Escalante not fully fit. Zenit had only one point and missed Vyacheslav Karavaev, Wendel, Magomed Ozdoev and Danil Krugovoi, while Sardar Azmoun and Sebastian Driussi were only fit for the bench, but Malcom did return to the starting XI.
It took all of three minutes for Lazio to open the scoring, as Immobile gathered from Lucas Leiva in the D and hit a ferocious effort that took a slight deflection to loop over the goalkeeper and into the far top corner.
Luis Alberto’s long-range strike was palmed round the base of the post, but Lazio did double their lead when Joaquin Correa countered down the left, cut inside and set up Marco Parolo for a daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner from over 20 metres out. It was Parolo’s debut Champions League goal.
However, the celebrations had barely finished by the time Zenit got one back with Artem Dzyuba, who gathered with his back to goal and spun round quickly to fire in from 14 yards.
This suddenly woke Zenit up and they came close to 2-2, Aleksandr Erokhin blasting off target from a very promising position. Luis Alberto tried to score on the counter, but Mikhail Kerzhakov did well to rush off his line and smother.
Zenit lost Douglas Santos to injury before half-time, but Parolo should’ve had a second goal when he prodded wide after Correa dribbled past four defenders down the left at the by-line.
Manuel Lazzari also wasted a huge opportunity in stoppages when Correa ran onto an Immobile through ball and rolled across, but Kerzhakov was again alert and rushed out to parry.
After the restart, Barrios made an avoidable and clumsy tackle on Immobile to give away a penalty. Immobile converted with sheer power and restored Lazio’s two-goal cushion.
Vedat Muriqi came on and almost got Lazio’s fourth when running on to a Luis Alberto slide-rule pass, but Kerzhakov rushed out and used his body to parry.
Lazio 3-1 Zenit
Immobile 3, pen 55 (L), Parolo 22 (L), Dzyuba 25 (Z)
Lazio: Reina; Patric (Luiz Felipe 60), Hoedt, Acerbi; Lazzari (Fares 68), Parolo (Akpa Akrpo 60), Leiva (Cataldi 68), Luis Alberto, Marusic; Correa, Immobile (Muriqi 81)
Zenit: M Kerzhakov; Lovren, Rakitskyy, Zhirkov (Azmoun 73); Malcom, Kuzyaev, Barrios (Driussi 59), Douglas Santos (Sutormin 37), Mostovoy (Musaev 59); Dzuyba, Erokhin (Shamkin 74)
Ref: Oliver (ENG)