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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Scudetto gone but Champions League conquered

Updated: Feb 29

Game 35, Serie A

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Cagliari 2-1

Milinkovic and Immobile overturn "Cholito's" goal to reach Champions League dream

Official SS Lazio photo

After only three minutes Cagliari scored with a Joao Pedro free kick but luckily it was indirect so disallowed. Cagliari started stronger and Joao Pedro went close with a header.

Then, gradually, Lazio stirred. In the first twenty minutes Lazio had five shots on goal, all saved by Alessandro Cragno. Manuel Lazzari had three shots from outside the area, Luis Alberto had a curler going in and Ciro Immobile had a close-range volley from a Jony cross but they were all stopped by the visitor's keeper.

In Italy they have an expression "gol mancato, gol incassato" (goal missed, goal conceded) and that's exactly what happened just before the break. To be fair, however, Cagliari had weathered the storm and already been dangerous with a Simeone header. In the 44th minute they scored, Artur Ionita to Simeone who, just inside the area, turned and tried his luck and found it in a deflection from Luiz Felipe beating Thomas Strakosha. Halftime Lazio 0 Cagliari 1.

A flattering score for Cagliari who had their keeper and a dose of luck to thank, against a home side who at times had shown shades of pre- lockdown moves.

Lazio came on in the second half determined to overturn the score line. In the 47th minute a cross by Jony was headed clear by a defender but fell to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic on the edge of the box, the Serb co-ordinated himself and sent a cracking shot into the top hand corner with the outside of his right foot. A superb goal. Lazio 1 Cagliari 1.

Lazio insisted and Cagliari were overwhelmed and faded. Luis Alberto surged forward and let off a thundering strike but Cragno dived and saved into corner. A few minutes later a long cross by Francesco Acerbi to the far post was put back across goal on the volley by Milinkovic-Savic and brought down by Immobile who turned and shot but again Cragno saved this time with the help of the post.

Lazio were queuing up at this point and definitely deserved to be in front. The goal finally came in the 60th minute on a classic Luis Alberto-Immobile combination. The Andalusian put the Neapolitan one-on-one with the keeper with a lovely through ball and Ciro found the net with a low angled left foot. Lazio 2 Cagliari 1. Well deserved for the Biancocelesti and King Ciro's 31st league goal of the season.

Lazio were dominating and a similar move to the second goal saw Immobile set up Joaquin Correa but the Argentine was not deadly enough and Cragno saved.

Cagliari gained some territory but were never really dangerous again. Final score Lazio 2 Cagliari 1.

Lazio had shown some signs of improvement after the post-lockdown traumas but more importantly were back in Champions League after a thirteen year absence.

The players celebrated with team photos in front of an empty Curva Nord but the fans were not far away and already reaching for their chilled champagne.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Proto, Guerrieri, André Anderson, Armini, Bastos, Falbo, Vavro

Manager: S. Inzaghi

Who played for Cagliari

Cragno, Walukiewicz, Klavan, Lykogiannis (83' Pisacane), Faragò, Nandez, Rog (67' Birsa), Ionita (83' Gagliano), Mattiello (70' Ragatzu), Simeone, Joāo Pedro

Substitutes: Ciocci, Rafael, Ceppitelli, Ladinetti, Lombardi, Marigosu, Paloschi, Pereiro

Manager: Zenga

Referee: Piccinini

Goals: 44' Simeone, 47' Milinkovic-Savic, 60' Immobile



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