Conor Clancy Date: 20th May 2018 at 10:39pm
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Inter managed to complete an astonishing comeback in the Eternal City as Lazio capitulated and handed the final Champions League place to the Nerazzurri on the final day of the Serie A season.

Luciano Spalletti’s side will now compete in European football’s elite club competition for the first time since the 2011/12 season having leapfrogged the Biancocelesti after three minutes of madness in Rome.

Still searching for his first Serie A goal of the season, Antonio Candreva speculatively tried his luck early on. The ball dropped to him close to 30-yards out and he cleverly lifted the ball over Senad Lulic before attempting an audacious volley, which went wide.

Lulic himself then charged into the box on the left of goal before pulling the ball back across the six-yard ox to Luiz Felipe. The Brazilian, though, was leaning back and his effort was wayward. Lulic was again the creator as he picked out Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, whose header was saved very well at full stretch by Samir Handanovic.

Lazio soon did take a lead through Adam Marusic. Another ball from the left found Milinkovic-Savic who did well to control it on his chest before teeing up Marusic. His effort smashed off Ivan Perisic’s face before finding its way into the bottom corner of Handanovic’s goal, leaving the goalkeeper wrong-footed and with no hope of stopping the shot.

As the half reached its midway point, Inter had a huge chance and it fell to exactly who they would have wanted it to. Mauro Icardi bore down on Thomas Strakosha’s goal and took aim just outside the box, but he dragged his effort wide when the entirety of the Stadio Olimpico expected to see the net bulge.

Icardi was nearly made to pay just a couple of minute later when the frame of Inter’s goal was rattled. Milinkovic-Savic dispatched a free-kick that bounced off the post, just inches away from finding the top corner.

Danilo D’Ambrosio was an unlikely hero as he bundled in the equaliser. A cross bounced in front of goal and off the defender who then fell into the net behind Strakosha and with the ball there to be won, he stuck his leg out and diverted it into the net and the goal stood despite complaints from the Biancocelesti players.

The game’s third goal came as the result of an Inter attack, but it was Lazio celebrating a stunning counterattack. A cross was punched half-clear by Strakosha and Felipe Anderson helped it on its way to Lulic, before setting off on an exhausting 100-yard sprint. Lulic carried the ball forward and then threaded a pinpoint pass into the path of the Brazilian who took it to the edge of the box and then calmly slotted into the bottom corner.

Lulic stood out throughout the first half and he had a chance to extend Lazio’s lead early in the second. A ball dropped to him inside the box but his shot deflected behind.

Perisic could have made up for his earlier own goal soon after as Marcelo Brozovic picked out his compatriot at the far post but he couldn’t get quite enough on his header and Strakosha saved.

Controversy arose in the final 20 minutes when a penalty was awarded to Inter, seemingly for either a foul by Marusic or a handball by Milinkovic-Savic. After consulting VAR, though, the referee reversed his decision to the fury of the Nerazzurri.

Not long later a penalty was awarded and there was no doubt this time. Icardi picked up the ball in the box and before he had even settled Stefan de Vrij lunged in and took the striker down. It was Icardi himself who stepped up to take and made no mistake in converting from 12 yards.

Lulic’s day then took a turn as he was shown red for a brainless challenge on Brozovic and Lazio began to feel immense pressure. Yann Karamoh forced Strakosha into action and won a corner.

From that corner the turnaround was complete and Inter went ahead. Matias Vecino found space at the near post and his glancing header found the far corner of the net to spark chaotic scenes.

The result sees Inter climb level on points with and above Lazio into fourth place, as they hold a superior head-to-head record over the Biancocelesti with the season’s previous meeting ending 0-0 at the Stadio San Siro.