Following a disappointing 0-0 stalemate away from home in their previous outing, Lazio were forced to settle with a 2-2 draw against Sturm Graz at the Stadio Olimpico in match-week four of the Europa League.
After Lazio missing numerous occasions throughout the majority of the first half, the Biancocelesti were handed a penalty following a clumsy challenge from the 21 year-old Austrian center-back David Affengruber on Mattia Zaccagni.
The capital club skipper Ciro Immobile stepped up to the spot and scored in the 45th minute as he curled the ball into right low-corner in order to break the deadlock and hand Lazio the lead within a vital fixture.
Shortly after, the match took a drastic turn for the worst for Sarri’s men as Italian full-back Manuel Lazzari was sent off after receiving a second yellow as his hand hit the face of one of Strum’s players, causing Lazio to end the first half a man-down.
Strum Graz capitalized on their one-man advantage as they pressed high and Austrian midfielder Alexander Prass cut out Danilo Cataldi’s pass and burst with pace on the counter in order to slice a brilliant through ball for William Vick.
The promising Danish striker did well to swerve past his marker and dispatched a venomous strike in the 56th minute past Ivan Provedel to hand his side the equalizer.
Despite conceding a goal, Sarri’s side seemed unfazed and showcased resilience as Pedro and Felipe Anderson performed a memorizing one-two passing combination within the box. The Spanish winger received the back-heel flick and curled it around the keeper to help his side regain their advantage within the 71st minute.
Just as Lazio seemed on the cusp of sealing all three points while being a man-down, Tomi Hovat slipped a brilliant through ball to find Vick in-between the lines. The talisman dazzled through his marker and managed to slither the ball into the back of the net to notch a brace, forcing the game to end in a 2-2 draw and for both teams to share spoils.
As it stands, all teams in Group F of the Europa League are level with five points each, making the last two fixtures of the Group Stage extremely significant as dropping points is not an option.
Julian Faustini Ι GIFN