It was a thriller at the Stadio Scida that leaves everything open to the final day, as Crotone held Lazio to a dramatic 2-2 draw.
There was a great deal at stake here, as the hosts were only one point clear of the relegation zone, while the Biancocelesti knew a victory would guarantee Champions League football after Inter lost to Sassuolo last night. Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, Marco Parolo, Jordan Lukaku and suspended Luiz Felipe missed out. Marco Davide Faraoni was moved into a far more advanced role than usual.
Lazio lost their only previous trip to Crotone in the final match of last season, which secured the Calabrese club’s Serie A safety.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic chested down the ball and smashed the half-volley inches wide from the edge of the box, but Lazio took the lead in controversial circumstances.
Senad Lulic burst into the box, seemed to shove Mario Sampirisi and then went down under a Federico Ceccherini challenge. The referee awarded a penalty, which Lulic then converted.
Ceccherini was involved in the equaliser, as he won back possession in midfield to spark a counter, Bruno Martella’s cross found Simy in front of Radu for a precise header. The tall Nigerian centre-forward has been immense in recent weeks with his seventh goal of the season.
Felipe Caicedo really should’ve restored Lazio’s advantage when sent clear by Felipe Anderson, but he hesitated and the soft lob was plucked out from mid-air by Alex Cordaz.
The Crotone goalkeeper was also decisive with a low fingertip save on the Milinkovic-Savic angled drive. Straight after the restart, Felipe Anderson’s free kick found Caicedo for a header that bounced off the crossbar.
However, Crotone turned the game around completely to take the lead. Thomas Strakosha started to come out for a Barberis free kick, thought better of it, and Ceccherini was allowed to flick in a volley from close range, bouncing in off the upright.
Stefan de Vrij kept Lazio from going 3-1 down with a goal-line clearance after Andrea Nalini went on the counter and pulled back for unmarked Marcus Rohden.
De Vrij flicked on a cross that Milinkovic-Savic controlled in a split second, held off his marker and drilled in from 12 yards to equalise for Lazio.
Moments later, it was almost 3-2 for the Aquile, as Milinkovic-Savic’s header skimmed the far post. Lazio poured forward, but Luis Nani and Caicedo wasted late headers.
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