SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 36 - content); ?>
Fiorentina 3 - 2 Lazio
Keita 55 (L), Babacar 67 (F), Kalinic 73 (F), Lombardi og 76 (F), Murgia 81 (L)
Stadio Artemio Franchi

Fiorentina fought back from a Keita Balde Diao opener to beat Lazio 3-2, as Simone Inzaghi rested players for the Coppa Italia Final, giving them hope of Europe.

The Aquile rotated his squad ahead of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia Final with Juventus, giving Luis Alberto and Filip Djordjevic rare starts. Paulo Sousa missed Milan Badelj and suspended Gonzalo Rodriguez, but Nenad Tomovic recovered from a knee scare in the warm-up.

Lazio had won their previous three trips to the Stadio Franchi since a 2-0 defeat here in October 2012. Home and away, they were on a run of five victories and a defeat to the Viola.

Luis Alberto’s swerving corner forced Ciprian Tatarusanu to fingertip over the bar, while Thomas Strakosha scrambled to beat away a Federico Bernardeschi screamer from distance.

Luis Alberto tried again from a very tight angle, his free kick clipping the crossbar, then a curler from the edge of the box forced Tatarusanu into a flying save.

Khouma Babacar scuffed a couple of volleys, including one where Bernardeschi was in a better position right behind him.

Just before the break, Stefan Radu knocked on a Luis Alberto free kick, but Filip Djordjevic’s first touch was terrible.

Lazio lost Jordan Lukaku to a muscular injury and Keita flashed a ball across the face of goal with nobody ready to tap in.

The visitors finally broke through when Bastos released Keita on the counter and he left Davide Astori in his dust, sprinting from midfield to squirm an angled drive under Tatarusanu. It was the Senegal international’s seventh goal in four games.

It was almost 1-1 moments later when Strakosha cleared straight to Babacar, but made up for it with a fingertip save on his curler.

Babacar did get the ball in the net eventually, his precise header taking Strakosha by surprise at the base of the near post.

Fiorentina seemed revitalised by a Paulo Sousa triple substitution and Matias Vecino’s snapshot stung Strakosha’s gloves, but on the counter a Patric effort took a double deflection to clip the upright.

The Viola turned it around completely, as Strakosha parried a Cristian Tello strike, but it ricocheted off Stefan Radu to turn into an accidental assist for Nikola Kalinic, fresh off the bench to turn in from six yards.

Moments later, Kalinic created another goal when his curling effort bounced off the far post and ricocheted into the net off Lombardi’s shin.

Lazio went down to 10 men, as Marco Parolo hobbled off after the substitutions had been completed, but they still pulled one back. Luis Alberto was again in the thick of it, his cross finding Alessandro Murgia for a looping header into the far top corner.

Bastos made a decisive block on Bernardeschi, while in stoppages Tello wasted a promising counter-attack.

Borja Valero and Astori went into the book and will be suspended next week against Napoli.

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Fiorentina: Tatarusanu; Tomovic, De Maio, Astori, Olivera (Sanchez 65); Chiesa (Tello 65), Vecino, Borja Valero; Bernardeschi, Cristoforo (Kalinic 65); Babacar
Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos, Hoedt, Radu; Patric, Parolo, Murgia, Lukaku (Lombardi 49); Keita (Immobile 71), Luis Alberto; Djordjevic (Felipe Anderson 71)
Ref: Celi