Two goal of the season contenders in the space of six minutes helped Lazio to a 2-0 victory against relegation threatened Pescara at the Stadio Olimpico.
A wonder strike from Stefan Radu from 30 yards out was quickly followed by a piledriver of similar quality from Senad Lulic from almost the same distance after Pescara more than held their own for the best part of half an hour.
Sergio Floccari squandered two more excellent chances when put clean through on goal to make the victory emphatic but a first win in five games for Vladimir Petkovic’s team means they leapfrog rivals AC Milan to third spot in the table before the pair's weekend clash.
Despite missing key players of their own and enduring a terrible run of form, the visitors started brightly, Lazio struggling to find a way to penetrate a side content to defend deep and hit on the break.
Pescara engineered the first shot on goal, Emmanuel Cascione’s effort from distance taking a slight deflection before Federico Marchetti grabbed an awkward ball that bounced just in front of him.
Aside from a close effort from Hernanes that Ivan Pelizzoli probably had covered, there was little to separate the teams at opposite ends of the table.
The only way through for Lazio appeared to be from distance but that is exactly what happened as Radu latched onto a knock back from Lulic from the best part of 30 yards to lash his shot past a helpless Pelizzoli.
It was tough on the visitors but six minutes later, a scarcely believing Pelizzoli was left picking the ball out of the back of his net from an equally impressive effort from Lulic, who was allowed too much space to run at the Pescara defence before rifling into the roof of the net from almost as far out. Both goals will live long in the memory for those fans lucky enough to be at the Stadio Olimpico and will surely stand out as YouTube favourites for just as long. The spectacular strikes were the obvious highlights in a game otherwise lacking in quality for long periods.
As with the first half, the visitors were quicker out of their blocks at the start of the second, knowing a quick goal was vital to salvage their season. The appearance of Milton Caraglio and Gianluca Caprari gave them an added cutting edge but they invariably left themselves open to the counter and Floccari should have put the game to bed when put clean through but shot straight at Pelizzoli.
Caraglio had the chance to set up a grandstand finish but planted a free header wide of Marchetti’s post direct from the corner. But Lazio always looked the more likely and Floccari missed another guilt-edged chance to make it safe when played in by substitute Ogenyi Onazi, a clumsy touch this time to blame.
Lazio will have a tougher test when they travel to the San Siro on Saturday as they attempt to stay third whilst Pescara travel to Udinese on Sunday realistically knowing that nothing short of a win will keep them up.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ivan Pelizzoli