Lazio completed the comeback from an Ashley Young opener to beat Inter with Ciro Immobile’s penalty and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, leapfrogging the Nerazzurri into second place.
This was an unexpected Scudetto showdown, as the Aquile went into the weekend one point behind joint leaders Inter and Juventus. The hosts were unbeaten in a club record 18 rounds, ever since the 1-0 loss at Inter in September, while Antonio Conte’s men were without defeat in 16, having lost only to Juventus.
Joaquin Correa was still not 100 per cent fit, so Felipe Caicedo again partnered Ciro Immobile, but Stefan Radu was out following ankle surgery. Inter had Samir Handanovic, Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini, Kwadwo Asamoah and Sebastiano Esposito injured. It was the first time Stefan de Vrij had played at the Olimpico since leaving Lazio as a free agent and he was loudly jeered at every touch.
Diego Godin nodded a corner over in the opening minutes, but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic decided to hit one from a good 35 metres out that almost cracked the crossbar with its sheer ferocity.
Romelu Lukaku started and finished a counter-attack with Marcelo Brozovic, forcing Thomas Strakosha into a tricky save at the near post.
There was a distinct lack of communication between De Vrij and Daniele Padelli when dealing with Jony’s cross, as Lazio stepped up the pressure towards half-time.
However, they were caught on the counter, as Inter took the lead. Strakosha didn’t get much distance when punching away a Candreva strike and Ashley Young was ready to volley in the rebound. It was quite a moment to score his first goal in the Inter jersey, during one of their biggest games of the season.
It didn’t last long, because just minutes after the restart, Padelli and Milan Skriniar again failed to communicate and collided, Immobile was about to fire in the loose ball when he was pushed over by De Vrij. A penalty was awarded, and converted by Immobile to equalise, but Lazio calls for a red card were rejected.
Francesco Acerbi made a decisive block on the angled drive as Lautaro Martinez sent Lukaku through. Lazio introduced Manuel Lazzari and Joaquin Correa to inject pace into their attack for the final half-hour, but it was Young who again threatened to score when denied only by a last-ditch Luiz Felipe tackle on the ball.
Lazio turned it around completely on a corner. Marcelo Brozovic miraculously cleared the Adam Marusic attempt off the line, but it came back out to Milinkovic-Savic, who rolled the ball under his right sole to get it into the right position and fired into the far bottom corner with his left boot from 12 yards.
Inter replied with Christian Eriksen and Victor Moses, which again almost paid off, as the Dane stung Strakosha’s gloves and when Lautaro Martinez nodded in the Young cross on the rebound, he was clearly offside.
Immobile and Correa had a promising opportunity, but Tucu slipped at the crucial moment. There was an even bigger chance moments later, as Immobile somehow squirmed between two defenders to go clear on goal, but Padelli rushed out and got a hand to it one-on-one.
Inter also threatened an equaliser on 90 minutes, as Luiz Felipe made a mistake, Strakosha had to come flying out to clear from Lautaro Martinez, then Eriksen threaded through for Lukaku, denied by Acerbi flinging himself in the way of the finish like a human shield.
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