Serie A Week 23 - 20 Feb 2021 (14.00 UK)
Lazio 1 - 0 Sampdoria
Luis Alberto 24 (L)
Stadio Olimpico

Luis Alberto proved decisive for Lazio in a hard-fought narrow win over Sampdoria, but Vedat Muriqi and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic missed sitters.

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There weren’t many options for squad rotation ahead of the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, as Stefan Radu, Luiz Felipe and Thomas Strakosha were injured, with Manuel Lazzari and Wesley Hoedt suspended, but Senad Lulic got his first start in over a year. Samp had a full squad at their disposal and were hoping for their first Serie A victory away to Lazio since January 2005, so adopted a three-man defence to mirror Simone Inzaghi’s tactics.

Pepe Reina had to show some excellent dribbling skills for a goalkeeper, as he was pressed into a corner by Fabio Quagliarella, while Emil Audero got his fingertips to a Luis Alberto strike after a give-and-go with Joaquin Correa.

Luis Alberto did get the ball in the net moments later, meeting a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic through ball and cutting inside for the curler, which might’ve taken a slight deflection.

Ciro Immobile almost doubled their lead on a delightful Luis Alberto chipped assist, but his volley flew over the bar. He had a remarkable chance from a seemingly improbable angle, still forcing the save from Audero, with Correa’s follow-up header charged down. Quagliarella was unable to do the same on a Francesco Acerbi error, but the veteran did send Gaston Ramirez clear with a masterful flick, forcing Adam Marusic to sprint back.

Samp made two changes at the break and Tommaso Augello perhaps slightly over-hit the cross for Quagliarella to nod wide, then Reina flapped at a cross, seeing Jakub Jankto turn wide at the back stick.

Lazio wasted an incredible opportunity to double their lead on 66 minutes. Marusic did all the hard work to put the low cross from the right to the back post, where Vedat Muriqi just had to tap in from four yards, but he missed it entirely with one foot and it bounced off his standing leg, effectively clearing off the line.

It was end-to-end stuff with both teams focusing on rapid counter-attacks, but on 84 minutes Sampdoria had a strong penalty shout waved away for Mateo Musacchio’s clumsy tackle on Quagliarella.

As the game reached the final stages, it was all Samp, Lazio still managing to waste a huge opportunity on the counter when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic tried to set up Muriqi rather than score from eight yards and it was intercepted by Omar Colley.

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Lazio: Reina; Patric, Acerbi, Musacchio; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva (Escalante 64), Luis Alberto (Muriqi 64), Lulic (Fares 55); Correa (Akpa Akpro 55), Immobile (Caicedo 86)
Sampdoria: Audero; Ferrari, Yoshida (Bereszynski 46), Colley; Candreva (Torregrossa 81), Ekdal, Silva, Ramirez (Jankto 46), Augello; Keita Balde (Damsgaard 67), Quagliarella
Ref: Massa