Lazio eye Italy's top four after beating Lecce and rivals slip

Lazio eye Italy's top four after beating Lecce and rivals slip

© AFP 2022
January 14, 2024 at 7:13 PM

Lazio closed in on Serie A's Champions League places on Sunday with a 1-0 win over lowly Lecce as their top four rivals Fiorentina and Bologna both dropped points.

Felipe Anderson crashed in the only goal of Lazio's hard-fought win in the 58th minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, a fifth straight success in all competitions for Maurizio Sarri's team.

Lazio are now just a point behind Fiorentina after the Tuscan outfit were held to a 2-2 home draw by Udinese, with Bologna a further point back in sixth after losing 2-1 at Cagliari.

Udinese sit 16th, level with Cagliari one point above the relegation zone after M'Bala Nzola saved a point for Fiorentina from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining.

Fiorentina were unfortunate to not snatch the win at the death with Giacomo Bonaventura's powerful shot smacking out off the base of the post.

Both Lazio and Fiorentina now travel to Riyadh for the revamped, four-team Italian Super Cup.

Fiorentina kick off the tournament on Wednesday with their semi-final against ailing champions Napoli while Lazio face Serie A leaders Inter Milan the following day.

However Sarri is not happy about the new Super Cup format and made his feelings very clear to reporters after his team's win.

"Everyone knows what I think, that this tournament has nothing to do with sport, we're just taking the money and running," said Sarri.

"We're going around the world with our hat in our hands... With all the problems that we have with crowded fixture lists, we then decide to organise a four-team Super Cup."

Before kick-off in the Italian capital Lazio paid tribute to their former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who on Wednesday said he had no more than a year to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Eriksson won the Serie A title in 2000 and the last-ever Cup Winner's Cup the year before with a star-studded Lazio team that featured Sinisa Mihajlovic, Juan Veron, Alessandro Nesta and Marcello Salas.

"My Way" played over the speakers while fans unfurled a banner saying "The battle starts now. Sven, we are with you".

The match was played in front of fans despite Lazio being hit with one-match stand closures for supporters racially abusing Romelu Lukaku during the midweek Italian Cup win over local rivals Roma.

Lazio will serve the ban in their next home match against Napoli at the end of the month.

AC Milan host Roma in the weekend's headline match on Sunday night, with Stefano Pioli's third-placed side trailing Inter by 12 points before kick-off.

td/dj

© Agence France-Presse

Authors
© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022