Lazio locked down third place alongside Cagliari with a fourth straight victory, but Lecce were angry at the referee for a disallowed goal.
The Romans had to focus their energy on Serie A after climbing into the top four, because Thursday’s 2-1 home defeat to Celtic meant they were practically out of the Europa League. Stefan Radu and Adam Marusic were out injured, but Joaquin Correa returned from a muscular issue to support Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile.
Lecce were unbeaten in four, including against Juventus and Milan, but made the trip without Diego Farias and Andrea Tabanelli. This was a happy reunion on the touchline between former Lazio teammates Simone Inzaghi and Fabio Liverani.
Within the first couple of minutes, Gabriel already had two saves to make on Correa at the near post and a Luis Alberto solo effort, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic couldn’t keep his volley down after springing the offside trap.
Lecce were also dangerous on the counter, Thomas Strakosha fumbling the Khouma Babacar effort and Mancosu incredibly ballooning over from 12 yards on a Gianluca Lapadula assist.
Luis Alberto tried to curl in directly from the corner flag, forcing a fingertip save, but the deadlock was finally broken on the half-hour mark.
Luis Alberto was involved again, his slide-rule pass finding Correa amid a crowd of defenders to drill in low from just inside the penalty area.
Manuel Lazzari blasted over on the rebound, but Lecce equalised just before half-time. Luca Rossettini knocked on a corner to the back post, where Lapadula was allowed to come sliding in relatively undisturbed.
Lazio should’ve restored their lead moments later when Correa drew defenders to him and flicked the ball back for Luis Alberto, but the Spanish midfielder incredibly ballooned over the bar from seven yards.
Luis Alberto had another couple of attempts off target, but Babacar thought he’d put Lecce 2-1 up on 50 minutes when his header was clawed out from under the bar by Strakosha.
Lazio finally got back in front with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who at full stretch stuck out a boot to anticipate defenders and turn in Francesco Acerbi’s cross.
Moments later, Mancosu went down in the box under a clumsy but by no means intentional Milinkovic-Savic challenge. Babacar went to take the rather soft penalty and for the second time this season, his spot-kick was saved, but Lapadula turned in the rebound. However, it was disallowed by the VAR officials because Lapadula was already in the box when the penalty was taken.
Lazio were awarded a spot-kick too, as Lazzari’s pull-back from the by-line hit Panagiotis Tachtsidis on the arm. Immobile stepped up and sent Gabriel the wrong way to extend the Biancocelesti’s lead.
Correa then completed a give and go with Immobile to burst down the left, firing left-footed into the roof of the net from a tight angle for 4-1.
It still wasn’t over, as Petriccione floated a cross to the back stick for substitute Andrea La Mantia’s looping header, his debut Serie A goal.
Lecce did not give in and Strakosha had to parry a Tachtsidis strike to keep the scoreline down.
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Saved penalty: Babacar 67 (Le)