A brave Lecce performance helped earn a 2-1 win over Lazio and effectively end the Biancocelesti’s Scudetto hopes.
First Felipe Caicedo gave Lazio, pouncing on a Gabriel mistake, but the home side got themselves level thanks to Khouma Babacar. Fabio Lucioni put Lecce in front just after half time and they held on to grab three vital points.
As Lazio grew more and more frustrated, Patric was given his marching orders for biting the arm of Giulio Donati.
It was Lecce’s first win in six Serie A games and takes them above Genoa and out of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Lazio remain seven points behind leaders Juventus, who play AC Milan later on Tuesday, after back-to-back defeats.
Lazio were let off the hook after just three minutes when Lecce took the lead thanks to a thunderous Marco Mancosu strike, but it was chalked off as there was a handball by the player in the build up.
Then immediately after Lazio took the lead when Gabriel was put under pressure from Ciro Immobile, which resulted in a poor clearance that fell to Marco Parolo and his strike on goal was deflected into the path of Caicedo who tapped home.
Immobile could have doubled the lead when he was played in on goal, but a good stop by Gabriel denied Serie A’s top scorer.
Lecce though got themselves right back into the game on the half hour when Filippo Falco got past Francesco Acerbi to the goal line and crossed for the unmarked Babacar who headed past Thomas Strakosha from close range.
Penalties were the order of the day for the remainder of the first half as first Lazio claimed a spot kick when a Jony freekick hit the elbow of Falco, but nothing was given after a VAR review.
Then, Fabio Liverani’s men were given the chance to get back in front, when Patric was penalised for a handball and referee Fabio Maresca awarded a penalty, which was confirmed via a lengthy VAR check.
Mancosu then stepped up, on the stroke of half time, and blasted over the bar following eight successful penalties this season.
Almost immediately after the break, Lecce got themselves in front thanks to Lucioni who got in front of Acerbi and headed home.
Lazio laid siege to the Lecce goal as the game wore on. First, Caicedo was denied by Gabriel, then the goalkeeper made a good save to tip a Luis Alberto shot over the bar. From the resulting corner, Jacopo Petriccione cleared a header off the line.
Substitute Bobby Adekanye thought he has headed Lazio level with four minutes left to play, but a stunning save from Gabriel tipped the ball over the crossbar.
Then in a moment of madness, Lazio were reduced to 10 men when Patric was given a straight red card for biting the arm of Donati.