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May 10, 2014
• 2:45 PM
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: D. Massa
• Attendance: 64718
R. Palacio 7', 37'
M. Icardi 34'
G. Biava 2'
As for Inter, they will look to consolidate their Europea League spot when they travel to Chievo next weekend, albeit without the suspended Rodrigo Palacio. That's all from me on this live commentary as Javier Zanetti enjoys all three points on his 857th appearance for the Nerazzurri. Until next time, goodbye.
That result all but ends Lazio's hopes of qualifying for the Europa League as Edoardo Reja's side remain in tenth place, with their fellow rivals all set for action tomorrow. The Biancocelesti will hope to finish on a high next weekend however when they face relegation-threatened Bologna.
FT: Inter 4-1 Lazio. The Nerazzurri produce a fitting send-off for Javier Zanetti as goals from Rodrigo Palacio (2), Mauro Icardi and Hernanes boost their Europa League hopes. Zanetti is warmly embraced by both sets of players and the fans as his final Giuseppe Meazza appearance draws to a close.
90' + 2'
KLOSE GOES CLOSE! The Germany international has a wonderful opportunity to get on the scoresheet when he is picked out by Minala's pinpoint cross. However, he cannot direct his header on target and watches the ball bounce agonisingly wide of the post.
Play is temporarily halted on the field as a fan runs onto the pitch in an attempt to embrace Zanetti. The stewards tackle him to the turf but Zanetti shows his class by escorting the supporter off the pitch.
Lazio continue to push forward in search of a late consolation but Rolando performs his job astutely to prevent Cana from nodding in Biglia's cross at the back post.
Candreva's exclusion from the starting lineup does appear odd as he once again marauds down the right dangerously before his teasing cross is well cleared by Ranocchia.
This scoreline does flatter Inter slightly and they certainly have Handanovic to thank for a number of super stops in the second half. Edoardo Reja looks a defeated man on the touchline.
Inter are showing no sign of relent in their attacking play late on and Nagatomo nearly makes it 5-1 when he waltzes into the Lazio box before seeing his low strike well saved by Berisha.
Edoardo Reja decides to make a final change as Joseph Minala comes on for Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian can consider himself unlucky not to get on the scoresheet today.
That goal is a real blow to Lazio as they looked the most likely to score and Berisha had hardly been threatened in the second half. However, the Biancocelesti midfield was once again cut open all too easily by the wonderful Kovacic. He has been magnificent today.
Assist Mateo Kovačić
HERNANES MAKES IT 4-1! The Brazilian fails to celebrate as he kills off the challenge of his former club with a superb strike from the edge of the box which curls beyond the despairing dive of Berisha. That should end Lazio's Europa League hopes.
LAZIO GO CLOSE AGAIN! Handanovic is keeping Inter in this game at the moment and he produces a decent stop to deny Candreva before then diving low to his right to wonderfully tip away Felipe Anderson's fierce drive.
Walter Mazzarri decides to make his final change in an attempt to shore up the Inter midfield by replacing Zdravko Kuzmanovic with Algeria international Saphir Taider.
GREAT SAVE FROM HANDANOVIC! The Slovenian has been busy in the second half and he produces another terrific stop, this time using his legs, to turn Felipe Anderson's deflected strike over the bar.
Inter are unable to get out of their own half at the moment as Lazio continue to exert the pressure. Can the visitors pull one back to boost their European prospects?
GOOD CHANCE FOR LAZIO! Candreva makes an immediate impact as he races down the right and produces a brilliant cross to pick out the unmarked Keita at the back post. The 19-year-old should hit the target but he leans back and balloons a volley high over the bar. That was a let-off for Inter.
Edoardo Reja decides to make his second change as top goalscorer Antonio Candreva, who was surprisingly left out, comes on to replace Onazi.
GOOD SAVE FROM HANDANOVIC! Felipe Anderson capitalises upon a mistake by Nagatomo to set up a promising attack for the visitors. Keita receives his pass and goes beyond Ranocchia again down the left before his thunderous attempt is well parried by the Slovenian shotstopper.
Biglia has supported the Lazio attack well today but once again he fails to find his shooting boots as he drags an effort wide of the target after being teed up by Klose.
Palacio will not complete his hat trick today as his number is illuminated on the fourth official's board. It's another rapturous reception from the Nerazzurri faithful as Diego Milito comes on, in what is potentially his last home game for Inter.
Palacio is hoping to complete his hat trick on his final Serie A game of the season. However, Cana produces a crucial interception to prevent the Argentine from latching onto Hernanes' slide pass.
Klose is struggling to make an impact on his return to the side and the Germany international has been an isolated figure so far. I wonder whether Edoardo Reja will be tempted to make another attacking substitution.
Lazio continue to come forward as they desperately seek to reduce the deficit. Felipe Anderson drifts inside from the right and his low drive is well held by Handanovic before Biglia then sees a long-range effort flash narrowly over the bar.
KEITA GOES CLOSE! The Spanish-born Senegalese striker has really stretched the Inter defence today and he surges past Ranocchia with blistering speed before blasting a shot inches wide of goal from a narrow angle.
Inter enjoy a sustained spell of possession as they attempt to take the sting out of the Lazio attack. The next goal here is crucial.
GOOD SAVE FROM HANDANOVIC! A Lazio goal would really change the mood in this stadium and they go desperately close again as the Inter men fail to pick up their markers from a corner. Onazi picks out Biava with an inviting cross into the middle and his firm header is expertly kept out by the Slovenian's reflex save.
Javier Zanetti has a special captain’s armband for his Giueseppe Meazza farewell. It reads ‘Javier Zanetti 4 Ever’ and has printed on it the names of all his teammates in the last two decades at Inter.
The Inter fans are on their feet as Javier Zanetti comes on to make his 857th appearance for the club and his final one at the Giuseppe Meazza. You would think that Inter have scored the winning goal in a cup final by the sound of that reception. Jonathan is the man to make way.
Inter have made a terrific start to the second half and Kovacic is again at the heart of the action as he glides through the midfield before picking out Nagatomo. The Japanese wideman attempts to tee up Icardi in the middle but his low cross is diverted behind.
The Inter fans cheer loudly as Zanetti removes his bib and prepares to enter the fray. All the substitutes are on their feet and applauding their captain as he receives his final instructions from Mazzarri.
Ranocchia has enjoyed a fine game in the heart of the Inter defence and he produces a crucial interception to prevent Biglia threading a pass through for Klose. The Italian centre-back has enjoyed a solid second half to the season and could force his way into Cesare Prandelli's World Cup plans.
Yellow Card Ogenyi Onazi
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and there is a change for Lazio as Cristian Ledesma replaces Alvaro Gonzalez. It seems that Zanetti will follow for Inter shortly.
We're only 43 seconds into the second half and Onazi picks up Lazio's first booking of the game after a late challenge on Kovacic. The Biancocelesti have received four red cards in their last five matches.
HT: Inter 3-1 Lazio. Walter Mazzarri's side enjoy a two-goal cushion at the break after a terrific attacking display. However, the Nerazzurri got off to the worst possible start when Giuseppe Biava poked home from close range within two minutes following sloppy marking from a corner. Rodrigo Palacio quickly restored parity for Inter and notched his second shortly after Mauro Icardi had completed the turnaround. It looks set to be a winning farewell for Javier Zanetti and we should see the 40-year-old Argentine in the second half.
Pereirinha has enjoyed a good first half for Lazio and he collects Onazi's pass on the edge of the box before gliding past Ranocchia with ease. The Portuguese midfielder looks to power a low shot into the bottom corner but Samuel flings himself bravely in front of the ball to make a crucial block.
The half-time whistle cannot come sooner for Lazio as they continue to come under relentless pressure from the Nerazzurri. Nagatomo looks to pick out a black and blue shirt with a low cross from the left and Gonzalez breathes a huge sigh of relief as his deflection goes into the side netting with Berisha stranded.
Jonathan produces a brilliant run to get clear down the right for Inter. However, Palacio is unable to complete a first-half hat trick as the Brazilian's low cross is expertly blocked by Cana.
It's a spine-tingling atmosphere inside the Giuseppe Meazza as Zanetti begins his warm-up on the touchline. This Lazio defence just cannot cope with the pace of Inter at the moment.
Goal Rodrigo Palacio
PALACIO MAKES IT 3-1! It's two goals in quick succession for Inter as Palacio claims his second of the game. Nagatomo is at the heart of it as he marauds down the left wing and his inch-perfect low cross is brilliantly met by the Argentine who steers his shot beyond the helpless Berisha. Inter lead 3-1.
Lazio look to pull one back instantly but Onazi's shot fades inches wide of the far post.
Assist Mateo Kovačić
Goal Mauro Icardi
BRILLIANT GOAL FROM INTER! Kovacic has been tremendous in the Nerazzurri midfield and he is again the architect as his delicious outside-of-the-foot pass splits open the Lazio defence. With Dias stranded, Icardi duly nips in behind and finishes off a brilliant move by firing across Berisha and into the bottom corner. That's his ninth league goal of the season.
This game has started to calm down a little now after a frantic opening 20 minutes. Inter are in no rush to throw bodies forward and they patiently bide their time, waiting for the gaps to appear in the Lazio defence.
Yellow Card Rodrigo Palacio
This will be Palacio's last game for Inter this season as the Argentine picks up a caution for a late challenge on Pereirinha, thereby ruling him out of next week's clash with Chievo.
This could also prove to be Samuel's last home performance for Inter, with the Argentine rumoured to be heading for Fiorentina. Gonzalez gets clear for Lazio down the right and swings a dangerous ball into the box but Samuel rises above Keita to crucially head away the danger.
Inter have drawn 51 games against Lazio so far, more than against any other Serie A opponent. Are we set for another stalemate between these two European hopefuls today?
Keita is causing all sorts of problems cutting in from the right and he again gets in behind Nagatomo before squaring the ball dangerously across the goalmouth. However, there is no sky blue shirt gambling at the back post and a good chance goes begging.
Lazio are enjoying a good spell of possession at the moment and Handanovic is again called into action when he reacts well to parry Keita's shot from the edge of the box. Onazi then tries his luck from distance but Handanovic makes a comfortable save.
Klose will be looking to mark his contract extension with a goal and he goes close to scoring when Felipe Anderson plays an incisive ball beyond the Inter defence. However, the German cannot get to the ball ahead of Handanovic and the Slovenian goalkeeper makes a brave stop.
Jonathan needs to calm down here as he is again extremely fortunate to avoid a booking after a mistimed lunge on Onazi. Hernanes then looks to pick out Palacio at the back post but his cross is slightly overhit and goes out of play.
Walter Mazzarri certainly looks like a man under pressure on the touchline and he shows his nervous state by flinging a water bottle on the turf. A win today would all but guarantee Inter a Europa League spot for next season.
There is a stoppage in play as Pereirinha receives treatment following a late challenge from Jonathan. The Brazilian is fortunate not to receive a booking and Edoardo Reja vents his frustration about the referee's leniency.
Kovacic has made a bright start in the Inter midfield and he again picks out Palacio with a neat pass on the edge of the box. The Argentine has only one idea in his mind but he cannot replicate his earlier attempt as his low drive is well held by Berisha.
Keita has made a brilliant impact since breaking into the Lazio first team and the 19-year-old shows no fear in taking on Nagatomo before swinging in a cross from the right. However, Ranocchia reads the danger excellently and gets ahead of Klose to head the ball clear.
Biglia looks to unlock the Inter defence with a long ball over the top for Gonzalez to chase but Handanovic is off his line quickly to smother the ball.
Inter are on the front foot following that early Biava strike and Hernanes is at the heart of the action against his former club. Nagatomo shows his quality as he cuts inside Gonzalez onto his right foot and his low drive towards the near post is spilled behind, rather nervously, by Berisha.
Lazio win a free kick in another dangerous position but this time Ranocchia sticks tightly to Biava to avert the danger. Why couldn't they defend like that last time?
It's been a frantic start at the Giuseppe Meazza and Inter look to complete the turnaround as Hernanes comes forward with menace down the right. The Brazilian looks to pick out Icardi with his cross into the middle but it is just too high for the young striker.
Assist Mateo Kovačić
Goal Rodrigo Palacio
That is Rodrigo Palacio's 16th league goal of the season.
PALACIO MAKES IT 1-1! It's a brilliant response from the Nerazzurri as they take just four minutes to find the equaliser. Kovacic is the architect as his pinpoint pass splits the three-man Lazio defence and Palacio makes no mistake as he pokes the ball beyond the advancing Berisha.
Inter look to respond immediately with Hernanes but the former Lazio man cannot find the equaliser as his shot blazes narrowly wide of the target. That early Lazio goal has certainly dampened the party atmosphere in the Giuseppe Meazza.
Assist Lorik Cana
Goal Giuseppe Biava
LAZIO TAKE THE LEAD! It's the perfect start for the visitors as Inter are caught sleeping from a corner. Pereirinha whips a dangerous ball to the back post to the unmarked Lucas Biglia and he heads the ball across goal for Biava to tap in from close range.
Lazio make a positive start with Felipe Anderson bursting down the left. The Brazilian looks to take on Ranocchia but the Inter defender gets a crucial foot in to turn the ball behind for a corner.
The referee blows his whistle and Inter, in their famous black and blue jerseys, get the game underway. Can they give Zanetti the perfect send-off?
The two teams emerge from the tunnel to a great reception from both sets of fans. Captains Walter Samuel and Giuseppe Biava begin the handshakes between the respective sides. Who will earn the valuable three points to boost their Europa League ambitions? Kick-off is moments away...
Javier Zanetti is singing along to the famous Nerazurri anthem in the dugout. There are plenty of 'Il Capitano' scarves and t-shirts on display today and it will be a truly special moment should he come off the bench.
A tribute to Zanetti, in the form of an Inter shirt, is spread over the centre circle reading: "Javier Zanetti Grazie". The 40-year-old has been a tremendous servant and role model for the club, winning 16 major trophies over his 19-year spell and earning 856 appearances in all competitions. The word 'legend' is overused in football these days, but Zanetti certainly fits the criteria.
Lazio travel to the Giuseppe Meazza in good form having lost just one of their last six Serie A matches. The Biancocelesti have won the last four meetings between these sides and won the corresponding fixture 3-1 almost exactly a year ago.
Lazio bench: Strakosha, Guerrieri, Ciani, Elez, Novaretti, Mauri, Filippini, Pollace, Ledesma, Candreva, Perea, Minala.
LAZIO (3-4-2-1): Berisha; Biava, Cana, Dias; Gonzales, Onazi, Biglia, Pereirinha; Keita, Felipe Anderson; Klose.
Inter bench: Castellazzi, Carrizo, Zanetti, Andreolli, Campagnaro, D'Ambrosio, Alvarez, Guarin, Taider, Botta, Milito.
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Ranocchia, Samuel, Rolando; Jonathan, Hernanes, Kuzmanovic, Kovacic, Nagatomo; Icardi, Palacio.
LAZIO TEAM NEWS: Edoardo Reja makes six changes to the side which snatched a last-gasp 3-3 draw with Verona last weekend. The Biancocelesti switch to a three-man defence, with Andre Dias stepping in for Abdoulay Konko while Alvaro Gonzalez, Pereirinha and Ogenyi Onazi replace Stefan Radu, Stefano Mauri and Cristian Ledesma in midfield. Miroslav Klose makes a timely return from injury to replace the suspended Senad Lulic in attack while Felipe Anderson comes in for Antonio Candreva.
INTER TEAM NEWS: Walter Mazzarri makes just one change to the side which lost 1-0 to Milan last Sunday, with Zdravko Kuzmanovic coming into the midfield to replace the suspended Esteban Cambiasso. Veteran Argentines Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito both start on the bench while Hernanes starts against his former employers.
Today's match also marks a special yet emotional occasion for Javier Zanetti who will make his Giuseppe Meazza farewell after a memorable 19 seasons for the Nerazzurri. The 40-year-old Argentine starts on the bench today but will be hoping to make one final appearance in front of the Inter home crowd.
With just two games remaining in the Serie A campaign, the race is hotting up for the Europa League places. Inter have made steady improvements this season under the tutelage of Walter Mazzarri but they will be desperate to resurrect their European hopes after last weekend's Derby della Madonnina defeat to Milan. As for Lazio, they are making a late surge for Europe themselves although missed the chance to go joint-sixth last weekend when they snatched a late 3-3 draw with Verona.
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