Ciro Immobile’s last-minute header gave Lazio a precious and unexpected victory away to Fiorentina, Bartlomiej Dragowski saved a penalty, but both teams had problems with the referee.
The Viola had been unbeaten in six, since September 1, and Vincenzo Montella picked the same starting XI for the seventh match in a row, with Milan Badelj facing his former club. Lazio fumbled another lead to lose 2-1 at Celtic Park on Thursday evening, so needed a morale-boosting result. Patric was preferred to Luis Alberto in the back three, with Joaquin Correa supporting Ciro Immobile.
Bartlomiej Dragowski immediately had to deal with a Senad Lulic cross-shot that was about to loop into the far top corner, while German Pezzella and Martin Caceres headers were off target.
Manuel Lazzari turned on the turbo to fly down the right flank and went down under what seemed to be a Caceres shove in the back, but the referee waved away his pretty strong penalty appeals.
A Federico Chiesa snapshot tested Thomas Strakosha and Immobile had a goal ruled offside on Luis Alberto’s back-heel flick.
Tucu Correa also saw the offside flag raised when he ran on to an Immobile through ball and waltzed around Dragowski to deposit into an empty net. However, the VAR check confirmed he was level with the last defender and Lazio could celebrate taking the lead.
They almost made it 2-0 moments later, as again Correa was sent clear by a well-worked move, but this time Dragowski used his body to parry from point-blank range.
Fiorentina drew level in some style, as Franck Ribery dribbled down the left and picked his pass perfectly, rolling across for Chiesa to hit it first time into the near bottom corner from 10 yards.
Caceres limped off with a muscular issue just before half-time, but within three minutes of coming on, Luca Ranieri was booked for a high boot on Senad Lulic that left the Lazio veteran with a cut to the head.
Lulic recovered and made a decisive interception to stop Pol Lirola tapping in a Dalbert low cross at the back post. Another Lirola move should’ve set Chiesa up, but the Italian let it through with a dummy, not realising Ribery hadn’t yet made the run.
Dragowski had his gloves stung by a powerful Lulic strike at the near top corner, but Lirola also limped off injured for Fiorentina and Jordan Lukaku made his first Lazio appearance since January.
Ribery and Chiesa drilled wide, while Erick Pulgar was booked for a lunge to stop Correa’s counter-attack. Ribery was substituted, but seemed very irritated at the decision, continuing to complain and ask for explanations long after making his way to the dugout.
Just as the game was reaching its conclusion, Lazio restored their lead. Jordan Lukaku won the ball back off Riccardo Sottil, possibly with a foul, and provided the cross for Immobile to steer his header into the far bottom corner from 12 yards. Fiorentina were furious and wanted a VAR check for the initial challenge, but the goal was awarded without an on-field review.
There was more drama, as deep into stoppages Luca Ranieri intercepted a Luis Alberto finish on another Lukaku assist with his arm in the six-yard box, leading to a penalty and his second yellow card. Caicedo surprisingly stepped up to take, but Dragowski parried the spot-kick and kept Fiorentina in it to the end.
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Sent off: Ranieri 95 (F)
Saved penalty: Caicedo 97 (L)