Lazio face an uphill battle to make it to the next round of the Europa League after suffering a 1-0 last 32 first leg defeat at home to Sevilla.
Wissam Ben Yedder’s strike midway through the first half gave the Spaniards a precious away goal to defend in the return leg next Wednesday at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
After some threatening forays into Lazio territory early on, Sevilla opened the scoring with a clinically executed counter attack on 22 minutes, Ben Yedder tapping in a low cross from close range.
Lazio came close to levelling the scores just five minutes later when Adam Marusic’s shot squirmed under the goalkeeper, but former Roma defender Simon Kjaer was alert to clear off the line.
The Aquile were forced into all three substitutions before the hour mark as Luis Alberto, Marco Parolo and Bastos were forced off with injury, but they piled on the pressure regardless after the break.
Felipe Caicedo’s snapshot hit the side netting before substitute Luiz Felipe fired over on the stretch from a good position with his first touch, while at the other end the Brazilian and his defensive partner Francesco Acerbi made vital blocks.
With five minutes remaining Lazio stepped it up a gear as Stefan Radu’s header whistled over the bar and Lucas Leiva’s effort from the edge of the area flew narrowly wide, but Sevilla held on for a precious away win.
Unlucky for some
Let’s get one thing straight – this is Sevilla’s competition. They’ve won it five times, more than any other team, they’ve won each of the last three editions they participated in between 2013/14 and 2015/16, and the last team to knock them out of the Europa League was Porto in the 2010/11 season.
When you throw in the fact that they went into this game with the most dangerous attack in the competition with 18 goals, whereas Lazio had conceded more than any of the remaining 32 participants with 11 goals, you begin to see why the Biancocelesti could’ve done with some luck.
On the night, they had none. Simone Inzaghi already had to contend with the absence of injured stars Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, so he must have wondered what he had done wrong when three players – Luis Alberto, Marco Parolo and Bastos – limped off before an hour had passed, emptying his bench and limiting his options. Sometimes it’s just not your night.