In a week of incredible comebacks from Serie A sides in Europe, it was a stunning capitulation from Lazio against RB Salzburg which cost them a place in the Europa League semi-final as they were defeated 4-1.
Protecting a 4-2 first leg deficit, the Aquile looked to have secured their spot in the final four for the first time in 15 years when Ciro Immobile put them 5-2 in front on the tie with just 35 minutes of it remaining.
However, in a week in which Roma and Juventus (almost) pulled off incredible European fightbacks, Lazio should have been aware of the pitfalls of any lead as they somehow shipped three goals in four second half minutes as the road to Lyon ended in Austria at the quarter-final phase.
Salzburg went into the game with a nine-match unbeaten run at home in Europe and although they had the better of things for much of the first half, they never truly tested Thomas Strakosha.
He made a relatively comfortable early stop to keep out Hwang Hee-chan and aside from that, watched on as his side defended comfortably and frustrated their hosts, who had much of the ball but did little with it throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Alexander Walke was lively after the break to keep out Immobile as he found another yard to get off a shot but couldn’t manage the goal, although RB didn’t heed the warning and were punished moments later as the former Torino hotshot netted the goal which looked to have put the Biancocelesti one step closer to Lyon.
He brought his tally for the season to 39 in 42 games when he latched onto a Luis Alberto pass and kept a composed head to curl brilliantly into the corner for a 5-2 aggregate lead.
The home side pull one back instantly when Reinhold Yabo found Munas Dabbur and he squeezed his effort into the net with the aid of a deflection.
Xaver Schlager gave Inzaghi and co. a big scare when he rifled an effort from outside the box against Strakosha’s left post and that was simply a sign of things to come in the final 20 minutes in a stunning period in which the visitors shipped three goals in four minutes.
Firstly, Amadou Haidara offered his side some hope when he pulled a goal back on 72 minutes and less than 120 seconds later, they hit the front in the tie for the first time on the night as Hwang took advantage of uncertainty at the back for Lazio and found a way in at the near post via another deflection.
Things got even better as a shell-shocked Lazio fell apart even further when a corner kick to the far post found Stefan Leiner and just two minutes after Hwang’s strike, he dispatched a header beyond a stunned Strakosha.
Lazio could muster little in response as a week of stunning comebacks from Serie A sides in Europe ended with a collapse of epic proportions.