Goals from Adam Marusic, Ciro Immobile and Danilo Cataldi allowed Lazio to cement second place in Serie A behind leaders Juventus by beating Genoa 3-2 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday afternoon.
Despite having a semblance of control thanks to early goals in both halves, the Biancocelesti were put under immense pressure, as a penalty scored by Domenico Criscito in the final minutes had given the home side the chance to complete a comeback.
As a result, Lazio move back to one point behind Juventus in the Serie A standings, and are now five ahead of Inter, who didn’t play on Sunday due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
Lazio didn’t seem distracted by the loss of captain Francesco Acerbi during the warm up and took the lead with only two minutes on the clock.
Adam Marusic completed a one-two with Felipe Caicedo before forcing his way into the hosts’ box, where he released a precise shot from close range.
The early advantage was a further morale booster for Simone Inzaghi’s already motivated side, as they looked in full control of the game, moving the ball nicely and waiting for spaces to open up in the Rossoblu defence.
This was exactly the case when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic nicely set up Caicedo, but goalkeeper Mattia Perin did well to deflect the Ecuadorian’s shot at the near post.
Set pieces seemed to be the only way for Genoa to get any change from the visitors and they almost found the equaliser after 26 minutes, when Andrea Favilli headed a Lasse Schone’s freekick against the bar.
With the fans creating a raucous atmosphere, trying to turn that first spark into a fire, Davide Nicola men increased the pressure and forced the Biancocelesti back.
That resulted in a couple of opportunities for Genoa, but Peter Ankersen failed to meet a dangerous cross a few steps away from Thomas Strakosha, before the Lazio goalkeeper produced a great save to block a close-range shot by Favilli.
With both sides looking eager, they started the second half aggressively and plenty of chances came in the opening minutes after the interval.
Most of them were for Lazio though, but Immobile and Luis Alberto were unable to hit the target and capitalise on a couple of dangerous counter attacks.
After Franesco Cassata ran the entire length of Lazio’s half, only to shoot over the bar, the Biancocelesti immediately doubled their lead with Immobile’s 27th goal of the Serie A season.
A poor clearance from the Genoa defence allowed the striker to control the ball and beat Perin with a precise low shot.
Goals came thick and fast when Cassata pulled one back for the home side just before the hour. The midfielder received the ball in central position at the edge of the box and this time his right-footed effort proved unstoppable for Strakosha.
Substitute Cataldi looked to have killed off the game when he produced a delightful freekick to make it three for Lazio, but a handball by Manuel Lazzari reignited Genoa’s hopes of a late comeback, as Criscito scored a second from the penalty spot.
However the home side’s final assault on the Lazio goal didn’t pay off, leaving the Biancocelesti with all the three points.