Lazio vs Empoli 3-3: Biancocelesti Come Back in Six Goal-Thriller

The Serie A returned in thrilling fashion this afternoon as Lazio have managed to go against all the odds and secure a point in a six goal-thriller against Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico. With Lazio sitting in eight place with a total of 31 points, Sarri knew that a win was crucial in order to surpass a high-flying seventh-place Fiorentina side and maintain within course of a qualifying-spot for next year’s Europa League. However, things did not go according to plan for the Biancocelesti as Empoli have displayed a magnificent performance in order to pull a major upset and keep their dreams of playing European football next season alive.

Dreadful Start for Lazio

The opening ten minutes of the fixture were extremely horrendous for Lazio as Sarri’s men lacked quality within their defensive shape. Empoli’s quick build-up play and swift combinations through the middle and along the flanks were way too much for the Biancocelesti to cope with. As a result, this made it very easy Andreazzoli’s men to break through Lazio’s back-line and pose a significant attacking threat.

Within the sixth minute of play, Federico Di Francesco pounced on a miss-cleared by Luiz Felipe and exploded with pace towards the net. The Italian striker was far too quick for Lazio as he managed to draw a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Thomas Strakosha within the box. Nedim Bajrami stepped up to the penalty spot and converted the penalty with a right-footed shot into the the bottom-left corner. The Swiss attacking midfielder managed to give Empoli an early breakthrough within this fixture, extending is magnificent run of form to six goals and two assists in 18 games played.

Despite obtaining an early advantage, Empoli showed no signs of slowing down as they continued to play with flare and innovation within the final third in the hopes of scoring a second goal. Within the tenth minute of play, the Azzurri to break down Lazio’s lines through a stunning one-two combination, ending with a well-placed ball for Bajrami out-wide. The Swiss midfielder demonstrated no signs of hesitation as he delivered a brilliant low-driven cross within the box for Szymon Zurkowski, who scored a brilliant strike into the far low-corner with the laces in order to double Empoli’s lead at the Stadio Olimpico.

Immobile’s Goal Brings Lazio Back to Life

Although Lazio received a rude awakening within their first game back from the Christmas break, Sarri’s men remained composed as they became more vibrant and dynamic within their offensive style of play. The Biancocelesti began circulating the ball within the final third of the pitch with more fluidity and urgency, eager to obtain a goal that would provide them a glimpse of hope in coming back into this fixture.

Within the 14th minute of play, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic received the ball out-wide from a after a miss-cleared corner from Empoli’s back-line. The Serbian international remained calm and distributed an exquisite cross into the box for Ciro Immobile. The all-time leading goalscorer of Lazio made his mark within his first game back from injury as he scored a stunning header in the bottom right-corner, extending his incredible run of form of 14 goals and two assists in 16 appearances.

With Immobile cutting the deficit by half, Sarri’s men seemed rejuvenated as they began dictating the play within Empoli’s half through their fast-paced counter-attacking style of play. Pedro Rodriguez and Felipe Anderson were brilliant out-wide as they were a major threat through the use of their incredible dribbling skills and their immense amount of pace. The two wingers distributed brilliant passes to Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto towards the edge of the box throughout the first half. Unfortunately, the two midfielders were unable to find the back of the net when given their opportunities.

Towards the end of the first half, Lazio broke out on a counter attack, creating a three-vs-two scenario within the final third. Luis Alberto flicked a marvellous back-heel pass for Felipe Anderson. Unfortunately, the Brazilian winger struck the crossbar, forcing Lazio to remain behind by a difference of one goal at the end of the first half.

Biancocelesti Bounce Back in Second Half

Throughout the beginning of the second half, Sarri’s men came on to the pitch with trails blazing as they managed to take total control of possession, striving for an equalizer within this tie. Immobile managed to obtain two significant scoring opportunities within the opening two minutes of the return to play, but the Italian striker was unable to find the back of the net for a second time.

Within the 66th minute of play, Felipe Anderson diced a brilliant cross along the box for Milinkovic-Savic. The Serbian midfielder found the back of the net with a sublime one-touch finish in order to hand Lazio the equalizer.

Dramatic Ending to the Fixture

Just as it seemed like Lazio were going to score the third goal that would have given them the lead for the first time, Empoli have pulled the impossible.

In the 75th minute of play, Ricardo Marchizza performed a mesmerizing run along the flanks and distributed a well-weighted pass across the six-yard box for Di Francesco, who cushioned the ball into the back of the net with fifteen minutes left to play.

Emotions were running high in the Stadio Olimpico as Francesco Acerbi’s equalizer in the 81st minute was disallowed due to a hand-ball. In the 87th minute, Lazio were awarded a penalty after Immobile was fouled in the box. The Italian striker stepped up to the occasion but failed to capitalized as his low-corner shot was brilliantly saved by Guglielmo Vicario.

In the 93rd minute, Mattia Zaccagni distributed a marvellous cross into the box for Milinkovic-Savic. The Serbian international scored a thunderous header to make it level within the dying minutes of the game, securing a point at the Stadio Olimpico after a thrilling 3-3 fixture between both sides.

What is Next for Both Lazio and Empoli?

As it stands, Sarri’s men prepare to head to the San Siro to face-off against the league leaders Inter in a crucial fixture within the race for an Europa League qualifying-spot. On the other hand, Empoli are set to host Sassuolo in what seems like a captivating fixture.



January 6, 2022 – Serie A 2021-2022 Round 20


SCORERS: 6′ Bajrami (E), 8′ Zurkowski (E), 14′ Immobile (L), 66′ Milinkovic-Savic (L), 75′ Di Francesco (E), 93′ Milinkovic-Savic (L)

LAZIO (4-3-3): Strakosha, Hysaj (89′ Lazzari), Acerbi (25′ Patric) Luiz Felipe, Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi (59′ Leiva), Alberto, Pedro (59′ Zaccagni), Immobile, Felipe Anderson Coach: Sarri

EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): Vicario, Stojanoivc, Isajli, Luperto, Parisi (33’Marchizza), Zurkowski (45′ Bandinelli), Ricci (74′ Viti), Henderson, Bajrami (63′ Stulac), Di Francesco, La Mantia (73′ Pinamonti) Coach: Andreazzoli


NOTES: Yellow cards: Parisi (E), Luiz Felipe (L), Marchizza (E), Pedro (L), Marusic (L), Alberto (L), Luperto (E); Added Time: 1st Half: 3′, 2nd Half: 7′