Lazio 2-2 Brugge: Aquile squeak through

Lazio are through to the Champions League Last 16 for the first time in over 20 years, but it was on a knife edge to the last second against 10-man Club Brugge.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and Barcelona-Juventus on the LIVEBLOG.

Lazio are through to the Champions League Last 16 for the first time in over 20 years, but it was on a knife edge to the last second against 10-man Club Brugge.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and Barcelona-Juventus on the LIVEBLOG.

The Aquile were still unbeaten in the Champions League and needed at least a point to be sure of qualifying for the Round of 16, something they had not achieved since reaching the quarter-finals in 1999-2000. Vedat Muriqi and Patric were the only absentees, as Luiz Felipe and Joaquin Correa recovered, while Matej Mitrovic didn’t make the trip.

These sides drew 1-1 in Belgium when Lazio’s squad was decimated by COVID. Eduard Sobol was booked within 70 seconds for hauling back Manuel Lazzari,

The early pressure paid off, as Simon Mignolet was at full stretch to fingertip away a low Luis Alberto drive, but only as far as Tucu Correa for the tap-in.

It didn’t last long, as Club Brugge equalised in almost identical circumstances three minutes later. Noa Lang sprung the offside trap, Pepe Reina only parried his finish into the path of Ruud Vormer.

It was wide open and Charles De Ketelaere drilled wide, but Clinton Mata went into a clumsy tackle on Ciro Immobile in the box and the striker converted the resulting penalty to restore Lazio’s advantage. It was his ninth consecutive game on target in all competition.

Sobol really should’ve been sent off on 35 minutes, but somehow avoided a second yellow card for hacking down Lazzari at full speed.

Just as the Brugge coach was getting the substitution ready, Sobol managed to make a third and this time fatal bookable offence by lunging into the back of Lazzari’s ankles.

Just as that happened, the heavens opened for absolutely torrential rain. Stefan Radu replaced booked Wesley Hoedt for the second half, to avoid any potential repeat of the Sobol situation.

Correa almost immediately added a third, running on to a through ball for an angled drive that skimmed the far post, while a touched-on Milinkovic-Savic free kick flew just over the bar.

Mignolet used his legs to parry from Adam Marusic at the near post, but 10-man Brugge pushed hard after the hour mark, as they had nothing more to lose.

Immobile should’ve finished it on the counter, but fired over with the inside of his right boot. Instead, Brugge equalised moments after Simone Inzaghi took off some of his star men.

A Vormer cross came in from the right and Luiz Felipe mistimed his jump, allowing Hans Vanaken a powerful header from six yards.

Suddenly, Lazio were nervous against 10 men. Felipe Caicedo pulled back for a dangerous move, although there was nobody there to finish it, while Milinkovic-Savic cleared off the line after Reina had been fouled by Deli.

The hosts were increasingly anxious as the clock ticked down and trying to hang on to a 2-1 result. In stoppages, there was a huge scare when De Ketelaere blasted the ball against the underside of the crossbar from the tightest of angles.

Lazio 2-2 Club Brugge

Correa 12 (L), Vormer 15 (B), Immobile pen 27 (L), Vanaken 76 (B)

Lazio: Reina; Luiz Felipe, Hoedt (Radu 46), Acerbi; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva (Escalante 75), Luis Alberto (Akpa-Akpro 75), Marusic; Correa (Andreas Pereira 86), Immobile (Caicedo 75)

Club Brugge: Mignolet; Mata (Van der Brempt 84), Kossounou, Ricca, Sobol; Vormer, Vanaken, Balanta (Rits 77); De Ketelaere; Diatta (Okereke 84), Lang (Deli 42)

Ref: Cakir (TUR)

Sent off: Sobol 39 (B)

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