Alasdair Mackenzie Date: 23rd July 2020 at 11:39pm
Written by:

ended a 13-year wait for qualification to the Champions League group stages by coming from behind to beat Cagliari 2-1 in Rome on Thursday and ensure themselves of a top four finish.

Giovanni ’s deflected strike gave the Sardinians the lead at half time but the Aquile turned it round through Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile strikes, despite the best efforts of inspired Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno.

The result leaves Lazio with 72 points, 11 more than fifth-placed rivals Roma with three games left to play, while Atalanta in the runners-up spot are just two points ahead. Cagliari remain in 13th place, but are already safe from relegation.

Joao thought he’d given the visitors a dream start after just two minutes when he fired an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner, but the was disallowed as it had been awarded as an indirect freekick and he wasn’t allowed to take the shot.

Lazio immediately responded with a string of chances but couldn’t find a way past Cragno, who made three stops from Manuel Lazzari efforts before flying through the air to deny Luis Alberto and making a point-blank reaction save on an Immobile volley.

His efforts were rewarded on the brink of half time, when Simeone’s shot from the edge of the box took a big deflection off a defender to beat Strakosha.

But Lazio came out fighting in the second half and were level within two minutes thanks to a sensational half-volley from Milinkovic-Savic, which swerved away from Cragno into the top corner.

It had taken something special to beat the Cagliari goalkeeper, but he was soon frustrating the Romans again as he clawed a dangerous Alberto shot out of the bottom corner before displaying lightning-quick reactions to palm a powerful Immobile shot onto the post.

Lazio eventually made their pressure count on the hour mark, when Alberto threaded a pass through to Immobile, who showed great composure to find the bottom corner and pull ahead of in the scoring charts with his 31st league strike of the season.