Colombian heads into own net to give Lazio the points in five-goal feast
It took only two minutes for the Biancocelesti to get on the scoreboard. After a nice team move, Tommaso Rocchi’s little flick put Hernanes in enough space to calmly slide the ball into the corner of Samir Handanovic’s net.
Udinese had a number of chances to grab an equaliser as first Antonio Di Natale was left with a one-on-one chance on the left but Fernando Muslera saved well, and then Mauricio Isla pounced on a defensive error but put his shot wide of the far post. Their best chance was wasted by Pablo Armero, the Colombian sliding a left foot shot wide from inside the six-yard box.
The Aquile very nearly doubled their lead soon after as Hernanes hit a superb left foot shot on the turn from around 25 yards, but the effort came back off the bar with Handanovic beaten.
The home side wasted a good opportunity shortly before half-time as they failed to take advantage of a four-on-two break. Stephan Lichtsteiner got away down the right and played in Mauro Zarate, but Handanovic made an excellent low save and as the ball broke for Hernanes the Friulani defence had managed to retreat enough to deal with the second shot on goal.
The away side came out after the break with real intent and when Diakhite failed to react at the back post to a Di Natale cross in the 50th minute, Alexis Sanchez was able to head past Muslera without the slightest of challenges. But parity last only two minutes as Lazio quickly regained the lead.
A left wing corner reached Dias at the far post, and his header found his centre-back partner Giuseppe Biava, who volleyed home on the turn from eight yards. The goal should have been enough to settle Edy Reja’s side, but within nine minutes it was all square again.
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin threw on striker German Denis in the place of the below-par Kwadwo Asamoah, and within a minute the ex-Napoli man had scored his first goal for the Bianconeri. Sanchez crossed superbly from the right and Denis rose high above the retreating defence to head across the static Muslera inside the far post.
The game remained open, with both teams showing an attacking intent while failing to fill gaps at the back. Zarate and Hernanes for Lazio and Sanchez and Di Natale for Udinese got in good positions, but couldn’t grab the go-ahead goal.
Finally, in the 88th minute, Lazio grabbed a winner. Cristian Ledesma’s left-wing corner was met by the combined touch of substitute Libor Kozak and Colombian defender Cristian Zapata and it was the unfortunate Udinese man who was credited with the final touch to deny his side a point.The result moves Lazio clear in second for at least a couple of hours, reducing the gap behind Milan to just three points. Udinese remain in ninth.