SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 21 - 27 Jan 2019 (19.30 UK)
Lazio 1 - 2 Juventus
Emre Can 59 (L), Cancelo 73 (J), Cristiano Ronaldo pen 89 (J)
Stadio Olimpico

Lazio dominated the match for long periods and took the lead, but Joao Cancelo scored and then earned a penalty to give Juventus victory and an 11-point lead over Napoli.

Both Coaches were forced into changes, as Francesco Acerbi and Adam Marusic were suspended with Luiz Felipe injured, so Marco Parolo was rerouted to the right wing. The Bianconeri missed Miralem Pjanic, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira, Juan Cuadrado, Andrea Barzagli and wantaway Medhi Benatia.

Juve struggled to get out of their half in the opening stages, as Joaquin Correa dribbled past Emre Can and Leonardo Bonucci to force a Daniele Rugani interception on the pull-back, then Wallace completely misjudged a free header from six yards.

Emre Can got away with an error, as Luis Alberto’s snapshot was beaten away by Wojciech Szczesny, then Lucas Leiva’s crucial tackle stopped Douglas Costa on the counter.

Wallace slipped over as he went to clear and kicked the ball on to his own arm, but the referee waved away penalty appeals, as it was clearly not intentional.

It was all Lazio and Szczesny performed a spectacular one-handed save on the powerful Parolo strike from just inside the box.

Leonardo Bonucci played through the pain of an ankle knock for 20 minutes, but eventually made way for Giorgio Chiellini.

Immobile thought he’d finally opened the scoring on 43 minutes when flicking the ball over the onrushing Szczesny, but Daniele Rugani performed a crucial goal-line clearance.

Opta noted it was the first time since they started collecting data in 2004-05 that Juventus had failed to even attempt a shot in the first half of a Serie A game.

Douglas Costa’s ball whipped across the face of goal with Ronaldo just unable to make contact, but the teams were much more stretched out in the second half with a series of counter-attacks.

The deadlock was finally broken by Lazio on their eighth corner of the match, as the Luis Alberto set play seemed to take a deflection and Emre Can accidentally nodded it into his own net from close range. The former Liverpool midfielder seemed almost frightened of the ball and had his eyes closed as it hit him.

It should’ve been 2-0 moments later, as Immobile went clear and Szczesny had gone to ground, but he curled over an open goal. Luis Alberto then saw his strike deflected inches past the near top corner off Rodrigo Bentancur.

However, Juve’s greatest strength is in their depth and it was confirmed here again. Federico Bernardeschi burst past Bastos down the left, pulled back for Dybala’s shot parried by Strakosha into the path of substitute Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese full-back kept his cool to finish off the rebound from nine yards. He’d only been on the pitch for four minutes.

It was wide open with both sides trying to win it with Correa and Cancelo, but the referee pointed to the spot when Senad Lulic foolishly held Cancelo back by the jersey as he waited for a Dybala cross. Cristiano Ronaldo, whose penalty was saved last week against Chievo, smashed this one into the roof of the net.

It was almost 3-1 moments later, as Cancelo went clear on goal and was over-altruistic in his attempt to roll it across for Bernardeschi.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had the chance to equalise with the last kick of the game, but turned his free kick over the bar.

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Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos (Pedro Neto 90), Wallace, Radu; Parolo, Luis Alberto (Berisha 81), Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic; Correa, Immobile (Caicedo 83)
Juventus: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci (Chiellini 40), Rugani, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Matuidi (Bernardeschi 60), Bentancur; Douglas Costa (Cancelo 70), Dybala, Ronaldo
Ref: Guida