Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa gave Lazio a much-needed 2-1 victory away to Cagliari, keeping them in the hunt for Europa League places.
The Aquile rested Ciro Immobile and Lucas Leiva ahead of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia Final with Atalanta, while Thomas Strakosha, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Patric, Valon Berisha and Jordan Lukaku were injured, so Silvio Proto made his Serie A debut after just four Europa League appearances. The Sardinians were practically sure of their Serie A status, but still furious after a controversial stoppage-time penalty defeat to Napoli. Artur Ionita sat out a ban with Paolo Faragò and Luca Ceppitelli injured.
Felipe Caicedo completed a give-and-go with Joaquin Correa to spring the offside trap and draw Alessio Cragno out, but slightly over-hit the lob to land on the roof of an empty net.
Proto, just days shy of his 36th birthday, made his first Serie A save to deny Joao Pedro’s angled drive, while Cragno did the same on Luis Alberto.
Lazio had a huge opportunity when Correa again burst down the left flank to pull back for Caicedo, but his shot from six yards hit teammate Marco Parolo for an accidental clearance.
Luis Alberto should’ve done better when sent clear from 12 yards by Parolo only to fire off target when practically undisturbed.
The Spaniard made up for it soon after, as he found himself in a not dissimilar position and this time found the far bottom corner with a cool inside of the right boot finish. It was the culmination of a splendid team passing move, with Adam Marusic providing the final assist.
Luca Cigarini failed to make the most of a Luiz Felipe error, drilling inches wide, while Milan Badelj saw his ferocious curler rattle the crossbar thanks to a sensational Cragno fingertip save.
Lazio doubled their lead after the restart with a classic counter-attack. Luis Alberto threaded through to release Correa and he was always going to win the foot-race with his marker, keeping his cool to place an angled drive into the far bottom corner. It was Correa’s first Serie A goal since November.
Nicolò Barella unleashed a screamer from distance and Proto was fortunate his parry into the crowd did not find a Cagliari player. The goalkeeper did better with an astonishing reaction save on Alessandro Deiola, who snuck up behind defenders to go clear on a long Ragnar Klavan cross-field pass.
Lucas Castro made his comeback after five months out injured and Parolo’s daisy-cutter flashed wide. Castro made an immediate impact, because he dinked a ball over the top that Leonardo Pavoletti steered into the top corner for his 10th headed goal of the season.
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