Lazio and Juventus played a thrilling Serie A encounter this Saturday in a game where both teams needed the three points to get closer to their objectives. On one end, the hosts needed to earn three much-needed points to take another step towards securing a Champions League berth. On the other hand, The Old Lady needed to win to keep in order to increase the pressure on Napoli.
It was a hard-fought, tightly-contested game that seemed set to end in a stalemate. However, Juventus star Paulo Dybala had other plans; the former Palermo star came through in the clutch for Juve, and scored the game-winning goal on stoppage time to give his side a huge win away from home. Lazio could not hold on to what would have been a great result, and now their fate will depend on others to decide whether they will remain in the Top 4 or not towards next week.
Not much to tell during the first half…
As a typical Serie A match between two contending teams, neither side looked overly positive. Both teams tried to move the ball around looking to exploit spaces in the final third, but neither side looked successful on that department. Lazio had a bit more possession in the early going, however, and they came close to score when Ciro Immobile unleashed an attempt from outside the box that was denied by Gianluigi Buffon.
Juventus also had a clear scoring chance in the 30th minute, when Stephan Liechtsteiner found the back of the net but his goal was disallowed due to a previous foul on the play. All things considered, Lazio looked a bit better even if the first half ended with a scoreless draw. They generated more scoring chances, had more shots on target, and overall looked like the more positive side. Everything seemed set for take control of the game in the second half.
…and things got decided down the stretch
However, that wasn’t the case. Neither side looked overly superior during the second 45 minutes, and at times the game was quite dull. Things were so tight that neither team looked like a threat on the attacking end. Juventus tried to shake things up sending Felipe Anderson and Felipe Caicedo out there, while Juventus sent Douglas Costa in an effort to spark things up in the final third.
The stage seemed set for a draw, but Dybala had other plans. The Argentinian playmaker – who has been tipped to miss the 2018 World Cup according to local reports – proved his worth on stoppage time. Dybala took advantage of a pass from Daniele Rugani, battled against the defence’s pressure, and had enough in him to place a shot into the upper corner out of Thomas Strakosha’s reach. It was stoppage time and Lazio didn’t have enough time left to turn things around, so they had to settle with a loss they didn’t really deserved based on how the game happened.
As for Juventus, they remain very much alive on the Serie A title race. And knowing they have one game in hand after his match against Atalanta last week was postponed, the title seems theirs for the taken. If they can overcome Napoli, of course.
Lazio: Strakosha (5); Luis Felipe (5), de Vrij (6), Radu (6); Lulic (7) (Murgia (-) 90′), Parolo (6), Lucas (6), Milinkovic-Savic (5), Lukaku (6); Luis Alberto (6) (Felipe Anderson (5), 70′); Immobile (6) (Caicedo (5), 79′)
Juventus: Buffon (7); Barzagli (7), Benatia (6), Rugani (6); Lichsteiner (5) (Douglas Costa (5), 57′), Khedira (6), Pjanic (7), Matuidi (6), Asamoah (6); Mandzukic (5) (Alex Sandro (6), 72′), Dybala (8) (Chiellini (-), 90+5′)
Goals: Dybala (1-0, 90+3′)
Yellow Cards: Luis Alberto, Luis Felipe, Lulic (LAZ); Lichtsteiner, Alex Sandro (JUV)
Red Cards: None
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