Lazio vs Milan 1-2: Tonali Last-Gasp Strike Rescues Rossoneri

Milan went to hell and back at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday night as they conceded an early lead to Lazio before coming from behind and grabbing three vital points with goals from Olivier Giroud and Sandro Tonali.

Had the Rossoneri failed to win in Rome tonight, their chances of battling for the title would have suffered a major blow. But thanks to Tonali’s last-gasp strike, the contest for the Serie A throne will continue to excite the Italian football fandom as Milan retained their two-point lead over Inter – bearing in mind that Simone Inzaghi’s Nerazzurri still have one game in hand (they will face Bologna on Wednesday). 

Maurizio Sarri will be fuming for the way the Biancocelesti squandered their lead and collected a gallery of defensive mistakes in the latest stages of the match that ultimately costed his side some precious points on their way to grab a spot for next season’s European competitions.

Immobile Early Strike Puts Lazio Ahead

The start was a nightmare for Stefano Pioli’s band as Lazio hit target only five minutes after kick off. It was Ciro Immobile to make it to the scoresheet as he anticipated Pierre Kalulu in the middle of the box to make the best out of a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic suggestion from the right.

Milan felt the hit and the Biancocelesti were in control for a good part of the first period. Felipe Anderson distributed a sumptuous assist for Immobile beyond the Rossoneri defensive line, but Mike Maignan came to the rescue and anticipated the Lazio bomber by a split second.

Rafael Leao was the most active for Milan. His movement on 28 minutes was brilliant but his shot hit the side netting. Three minutes later, he challenged Thomas Strakosha from outside the box but found the Albanian goalkeeper alert.  

The Rossoneri piled on the pressure towards the end of the first half but nothing came out of it, save for a Theo Hernandez free kick from sidereal distance that was pushed back by Strakosha and a penalty claim for a Luis Alberto alleged handball that was dismissed by referee Marco Guida.

Milan Wins It with Giroud and a Last-Minute Tonali Effort

Milan’s equalizer, however, came early in the second half and it was courtesy of a brilliant initiative from Leao. It was Olivier Giroud to write his name in the scorecard, but the Frenchman’s tap in from close range was only possible due to the Portuguese starlet believing in a ball that seemed destined past the end line and converting it in a golden assist for the former Chelsea striker. 

The Devils didn’t stop and tried to build on their momentum to find a second goal. Sarri didn’t seem to have any answer and changed some of his men to inject fresh forces in his Biancocelesti side. Danilo Cataldi and Toma Basic were the first to make their entrance to the pitch but the initiative remained in the red-and-blacks’ hands.

Junior Messias bested Stefan Radu and descended along the right flank to conclude his effort with a shot to the far post that narrowly sailed off target. Sarri saw that his defender was struggling and replaced him with Adam Marusic. 

The next changes were from Pioli and made some noise, as the Rossoneri gaffer sent in Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, adding Rade Krunic a few minutes later. Sarri’s next moves were Elsaid Hysaj and Luiz Felipe.

With the last spark, and just before making room for Alexis Saelemaekers, Leao fired again at Strakosha, who answered with a fine save. The goalie also pushed back Rebic’s shot from outside the box as Milan continued to attack. There was a chance also for Ibrahimovic, whose shot was triggered by a defensive blunder on the Lazio part. Good for Sarri that his backline managed to recover and deflect the Swede’s attempt in corner.  

The battle at the Stadio Olimpico seemed destined to end in a stalemate but Milan’s pressure finally bore fruit in the dying minutes of the game. It was a matter of pure willpower as Rebic snatched the ball out of Marusic’s feet and whipped it in the middle of the box, where an ineffective clearance from Francesco Acerbi triggered Ibrahimovic’s pass for Sandro Tonali.

The Brescia youth academy product stretched his foot just enough to anticipate Strakosha and keep the Rossoneri into the battle for the title.

What’s Next for Lazio and Milan

With four games to go, the battle for the Scudetto is at its most uncertain. Milan don’t have an easy calendar ahead as their next opponent will be Vincenzo Italiano’s Fiorentina – which the Rossoneri will welcome at the San Siro next Sunday. On the same day, cross-town rivals will travel to Udine to face Udinese.

Lazio will play Spezia at the Alberto Picco Stadium on Saturday. The Biancocelesti currently sit 7th in the table, two points behind Roma and one behind Fiorentina, and still have some good chances of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.



April 24, 2022 – Serie A 2021-2022 Round 34

SCORERS: 4′ Immobile (L), 50′ Giroud (M), 92′ Tonali (M)

LAZIO (4-3-3): Strakosha; Lazzari (80′ Hysaj), Patric (80′ Luiz Felipe), Acerbi, Radu (62′ Marusic); Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas Leiva (60′ Cataldi), Luis Alberto (60′ Basic); Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni (Reina, Adamonis, Kamenovic, Akpa Akpro, Raul Moro, Cabral, Romero) Coach: Sarri
MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernández; Tonali, Kessié; Messias (70′ Krunic), Brahim Diaz (68′ Rebic), Rafael Leao; Giroud (68′ Ibrahimovic) (Mirante, Tatarusanu, Ballo-Touré, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Bakayoko, Castillejo, Saelemaekers, Lazetic) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. Guida from Pompei
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Strakosha, Lucas Leiva, Cataldi (L); Tomori, Kalulu, Ibrahimovic, Tonali (M); Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 5′