Immobile and Caicedo Secure Lazio Vital Home Win to Fiorentina

A quick turnaround from the weekend saw Serie A undertake a series of afternoon week day games. Lazio were looking to get back to winning ways in their quest for the top 4 after drawing away to Genoa while Fiorentina were looking for another big away day scalp after recently defeating Juventus.

For Lazio, Simone Inzaghi recalled Luiz Felipe and Wesley Hoedt at the back alongside captain Francesco Acerbi. The only other change was in the heart of midfield where Lucas Leiva was unavailable and therefore replaced by Argentine Gonzalo Escalante.

Legendary Fiorentina manager Cesare Prandelli made two changes also bringing in experienced Italians Cristiano Biraghi at left wing-back and Giacomo Bonaventura in central midfield for Lorenzo Venuti and Borja Valero respectively.

Lazio got off to the perfect start with a goal from Felipe Caicedo within five minutes. Luis Alberto fed the overlapping Adam Marušić on the left hand side of the box and the Montenegrin’s cross to the back post was excellently won by Manuel Lazzari. His header back into the box dropped into the path of the striker who acrobatically lashed home with a right foot volley.

The Spaniard Luis Alberto enjoyed an excellent opening half dictating the tempo from the middle of the pitch, switching to the wide players as the Viola struggled to get a foothold in the game.

Influential Frenchman Franck Ribéry pulled up injured as halftime approached with an apparent foot injury and was replaced by Valentin Eysseric in attack. That was how the first half ended with neither side really creating anymore clear cut chances.

Dušan Vlahović was Fiorentina’s liveliest player after the break, working hard running the channels and trying to turn the Lazio defense around but the service into the Serbian was often poor. The Biancocelesti were defending stoutly and looking to break on their counterparts from Florence.

Thomas Strakosha saved bravely at the feet of Vlahović after a pass back to him was left short, but Fiorentina were desperately short of ideas in attack. Prandelli had seen enough at this point and threw on Ivorian striker Christian Kouamé to offer another body in attack and try and snatch a goal from a very tepid first 75 minutes.

It would be Lazio that would get the all important next goal and it came through their talismanic striker Immobile. A whipped in-swinging corner from Luis Alberto caused Bartlomiej Dragowski to deflect the ball across the box, where the striker was waiting to crash the ball home on the half volley as he let it come across him, prompting a sigh of relief from manager and player.

Fiorentina though found a consolation in the 87th minute, when Vlahović won a penalty after having his shirt pulled in the area. The striker stepped up and tucked the penalty masterfully into the side netting to the goalkeepers left.

Lazio held out for the remaining minutes for an all important victory. With the win, they will now cast their eyes up the table and will travel to Parma on Sunday looking to secure another three points. For Fiorentina next is fellow strugglers Cagliari whom they will host at at the Artemio Franchi on Sunday evening.