Ederson’s opener early on was cancelled out almost immediately by Pablo Barrientos, but goals from Senad Lulic and Hernanes in either half were enough to see off the challenge of Catania, who also had Giuseppe Bellusci sent off.
The home side struck first during a frantic opening to the match. Antonio Candreva’s powerful free kick from distance could only be parried by Mariano Andujar, and Ederson was quickest to take advantage of a static Catania defence as he spun his body and buried a shot into the corner from close range.
However, Lazio’s advantage was short-lived. The Elefanti hit back almost instantly thanks to a howler from Lorik Cana. The Albanian defender attempted a shocking pass across defence that was pounced on by the alert Pablo Barrientos, who made no mistake in chipping his finish over the outrushing Federico Marchetti to level the scores.
Incredibly the drama continued as only two minutes later Lazio came close to retaking the lead. A deflected shot from Sergio Floccari was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Andujar, and from the resulting corner Senad Lulic found himself with space to shoot but saw his effort cannon off the line defender.
A lively Ederson created a chance for himself out of nothing on the half-hour mark, showing great strength to shrug off his marker before smashing in a low shot from range that Andujar could only send over the bar with his legs.
With five minutes to go before the break, the home side deservedly reclaimed the advantage. Again the goal was due to an individual error, and this time the culprit was Tiberio Guarente who saw his pass intercepted inside the Catania half by Lulic, and the Bosnian was clinical as he ran a few paces before striking a low right-footed shot off the post and in from outside the box.
Sergio Almiron’s spectacular bicycle kick was narrowly wide at the start of the second half, but Catania’s chances of getting back into the game were dealt a serious blow on the hour mark when Giuseppe Bellusci saw red for a cynical tackle from behind that ended Ogenyi Onazi’s dazzling run just outside the box.
There were serious appeals for a penalty only a matter of minutes later as Ederson was caught in the face by the arm of Nicolas Spolli only for referee Massimiliano Irrati to wave play on.
The home side continued to press for a third, and Sergio Floccari was played through on goal by an excellent pass from Ederson only to see his left-footed drive deflected wide by the foot of Andujar. However, their domination was rewarded with a last-minute angled strike by Hernanes that settled a confident win for the Biancoceleste.