It was always going to be a feisty encounter, and when the dust settled on Lazio’s final day showdown with Inter Milan, it was the visitors who walked away with the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot in Serie A. Inter went into the game knowing that anything other than a win would mean that Lazio would finish the Serie A season in fourth, and throughout most of the game, it seemed like that was going to be how things turned out.
The Lazio crowd were firmly behind their side from the first whistle until the very last, and initially, it seemed as if that pressure was going to cost Inter in a big way. Perisic accidentally turned the ball into his own net with less than 10 minutes on the clock, and from that point on, it was clear that a change in direction was required.
Lazio went close to doubling their lead on several occasions, which included an effort that rattled the crossbar, and they were made to pay for their inability to make it two as Inter equalised with a nice finish from D’Ambrosio. The drama of the first 45 minutes didn’t end there, however, as Felipe kept his cool to restore Lazio’s advantage and seemingly put the fans at ease.
The second half seemed to fly by as Lazio fans began to dream of Champions League football, but then, in a bizarre five-minute spell, everything changed. Icardi was taken down inside the box before stepping up himself to convert the penalty, and within moments of that happening, Lulic earned a second yellow card to set up a grandstand finish to the encounter.
Vecino rose beautifully from a corner in the 81st minute to put Inter ahead, and the rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and just to rub salt in the wounds, Patric was sent off from the bench amidst the chaos.
The former UCL winners can now celebrate a return to the competition for the first time in years, whereas Lazio will be left to wonder where everything went wrong.
Lazio: Strakosha (6.5), Radu (6), de Vrij (6), Felipe (5.5), Lulic (6.5), Milinkovic-Savic (7.5), Leiva (6.5), Murgia (7), Marusic (6.5), Anderson (8), Immobile (6.5)
Subs: Nani (6), Lukaku (6), Bastos (6)
Inter Milan: Handanovic (6.5), Cancelo (7), Skriniar (6.5), Miranda (7), D’Ambrosio (7.5), Vecino (7.5), Brozovic (7.5), Candreva (6), Rafinha (6.5), Perisic (6.5), Icardi (7.5)
Subs: Eder (6.5), Ranocchia (6.5), Karamoh (6)
Goals: Perisic (OG), Anderson :: D’Ambrosio, Icardi, Vecino
Yellow Cards: Strakosha, Felipe, Lulic x2, Leiva, Vecino, Brozovic, Miranda, D’Ambrosio
Red Cards: Lulic, Patric
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi
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