Ciro Immobile’s spectacular flying back-heel flick lob earned Lazio a last-gasp 2-2 draw in this Cagliari thriller.
The Biancocelesti came into the game needing a boost, as in the previous 10 days they had lost the Coppa Italia semi-final on penalties to Milan, were beaten by a last-gasp Paulo Dybala goal in Serie A and held to a 2-2 home draw by Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League Round of 16. Adam Marusic sat out a ban, but Luis Alberto returned to the starting XI. Cagliari missed Luca Cigarini and Joao Pedro, as the Brazilian failed a doping test.
Lazio had won nine of their last 11 league meetings with the Sardinians, home and away, and were unbeaten since a 1-0 loss here in May 2013.
There were emotional scenes before kick-off, with a tribute to Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who died last week. He spent six years at Cagliari from 2008 to 2014, where he was teammates with Coach Diego Lopez, and the club retired his Number 13 jersey. Filippo Romagna had been wearing it this season, so he received special dispensation from the Lega Serie A to change it mid-campaign to 56.
Senad Lulic just failed to get on the end of a Dusan Basta cross in the opening seconds, but at the other end Stefan Radu risked an own goal when putting Simone Padoin’s ball out for a corner. Luis Alberto’s snapshot skimmed the upright from distance.
Cagliari took the lead with a strange goal, as Han leapt to meet a Senna Miangue cross, it was fingertipped on to the bar by Thomas Strakosha and ricocheted back into the net off Leonardo Pavoletti.
Lazio were livid when Ciro Immobile seemed to be sandwiched between two defenders and went down in the box, but the referee waved play on.
The equaliser eventually arrived somewhat fortuitously, as a Luis Alberto free kick was nodded into his own net by Luca Ceppitelli as he was trying to anticipate Lucas Leiva at the back stick.
Simone Inzaghi threw on Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, but Cagliari were awarded a penalty after a very long wait for the VAR verdict. Luiz Felipe was trying to shepherd a ball back to Strakosha, the goalkeeper hesitated and the defender used his body to block off Pavoletti from intercepting. It was considered a foul and Nicolo Barella stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
Lazio poured forward in search of an equaliser, Felipe Anderson wasting a couple of promising situations, Luis Nani then drilled wide undisturbed from 10 yards.
Deep into stoppages, the Aquile got their dramatic equaliser, as Immobile with his back to goal flicked a Felipe Anderson assist up off his heel over Alessio Cragno, who was caught off his line, from a good 14 yards. It was an astonishing goal and a fortunate one too.
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