Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored twice around a controversial Ciro Immobile penalty with both sides going down to 10 men in an ill-tempered game.
The Aquile were back to soaring again after a rough patch of five winless competitive games, as they crushed FC Steaua Bucharest 5-1 in the Europa League on Thursday and were preparing for Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final against Milan. Edoardo Goldaniga was suspended for the hosts, with Alessandro Matri injured against his former club and Rogerio, on loan from Juventus, getting his first Serie A start.
It took only seven minutes to break through, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic gathered from just outside the area and curled a stunner into the near top corner, perhaps with the aid of a slight deflection off Luca Mazzitelli.
Domenico Berardi was booked for a crunching tackle on Stefan Radu and will be suspended for the relegation dogfight with Chievo.
Lazio doubled their lead amid controversy, as Alessandro Murgia flicked up a ball with his back to goal and it struck Federico Peluso’s hand as he ran across. The referee had let play run, but he was urged to view it again by the VAR officials and opted for a penalty, which Immobile converted. It was a 50-50 situation, from very close range and arguably congruous movement from the arm as Peluso was running.
Khouma Babacar failed to make the most of a Luiz Felipe error in the six-yard box, poking wide, but on the stroke of half-time Sassuolo were furious. Matteo Politano seemed to be brought down on the edge of the box by Stefan Radu, but the referee waved play on, eventually booking Simone Missiroli for his protests.
The second half had barely begun when Milinkovic-Savic peeled away from two defenders to steer in a Felipe Anderson cross from the right.
Berardi was already booked when he went in studs-up on the back of Radu’s leg, but inexplicably the referee needed to view it again on VAR before awarding a straight red card.
Despite going down to 10 men, Sassuolo didn’t give in and Thomas Strakosha was forced into a flying save on Claud Adjapong from close range.
Adam Marusic lost his temper too, flailing out an arm to shake off Rogerio and was also shown a red card.
Luiz Felipe went in with a high elbow on Simone Missiroli in the Lazio penalty area, but with more controversy, this incident was not viewed again on VAR. The referee spoke to the officials in the booth and they decided not to take further action.
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Sent off: Berardi 54 (S), Marusic 62 (L)