The Spanish side won on the night to add to their comfortable first-leg victory and progress to the last-16 of the tournament at the Italians' expenseDiego Godín’s second-half header was the difference on the night as Atletico Madrid defeated Lazio 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon to progress 4-1 on aggregate in the Europa League.
The former Villarreal defender nodded home to put paid to the feeble challenge from Edy Reja's visitors, and leave the future of the coach unsure after his attempts to resign in the week prior.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico, the away side needed a dramatic turnaround in order to progress to the last 16, and visiting keeper Albano Bizzarri was soon at full stretch as he tipped Eduardo Salvio’s drive round the post in the 11th minute.
Soon after, Salvio burst into the penalty area but saw his fierce right-foot shot crash off the angle of post and crossbar.
The Rojiblancos were dictating the tempo and Lazio, who operated a lone striker in the Czech Libor Kozak, were unable to make any impression on the Atletico goal.
Diego Simeone’s side were content to let the visitors keep possession and then break forward on the counterattack, with Salvio and Adrian Lopez looking particularly lively in the final third. However, aside from a neat turn and volley from Lopez that was fired straight at Bizzarri, goalmouth action in the first half was at a premium.
Two minutes after the restart, the outcome of the tie was put beyond any doubt, as Godin cut across his marker to glance Gabi’s corner home. The lead was almost doubled a minute later, only for a flying Bizzarri to keep out Koke’s rising half-volley.
The home side were now attacking at will, and spurned several chances to make the scoreline even more emphatic. First, Salvio was unlucky to see his side-footed effort deflected wide, before substitutes Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan linked well on the edge of the area, only for the latter to scoop his shot past the post.
Now playing for pride, the Biancoceleste almost made a spectacular impression upon the game, but Matuzalém’s 35-yard drive was well blocked by Atlético keeper Thibaut Courtois.
The result ends Lazio’s last realistic chance for silverware this season, but Edy Reja’s side remain in a strong league position to qualify for next season’s Champions League, despite the speculation over the future of the coach.
Atletico, meanwhile, will next face Besiktas or Braga as they look to reclaim the trophy they lifted in 2010.