Following Lazio’s elimination from the UEFA Europa League, the Biancocelesti had another important fixture in Serie A at the Stadio Olimpico. They were set to take on Napoli, who had also just exited the European competition.
With Juventus’ 3-2 win over Empoli, Maurizio Sarri’s men had to get the three points in order to play catch-up for the fourth position in the league table. On the contrary, Napoli were looking for all three points to take them back to the top spot after both Milanese clubs drew their matches.
Unfortunately, Lazio were not able to capitalize on the opportunity; they suffered their second home defeat all season while the Partenopei celebrated returning to the first position.
Match official Marco Di Bello blew his whistle to start the match.
The first twenty minutes were heaven for Lazio fans as the Biancocelesti were completely dominating Napoli and putting tons of pressure on them. This led to poor distribution from Luciano Spalletti’s men and many opportunities that were gifted to Lazio.
However, just like the game against Porto several days prior, Lazio missed so many chances to go one or two-nil up and really make a strong statement in this match.
Lazio’s dominance did not last long as Napoli were able to absorb the pressure, calm the match down and dictate the tempo for the rest of the half. From then on, it was an equal battle between them; the odds for predicting the outcome of the match were similar to the Super Bowl Odds, with the two sides going unseparated at 0-0 after forty-five minutes.
The second half did not go well for Sarri’s men as Napoli did exactly what Lazio did at the start of the first half. The only difference is that Spalletti’s men were able to capitalize on their opportunities.
A long-range, low-driven effort from Napoli veteran Lorenzo Insigne found the bottom right corner, beating Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha. Napoli continued to pile on the pressure as a shot on target from Victor Osimhen was saved but the rebound was slotted into the net by Insigne. Luckily, the goal was ruled out for offside, denying the Italian of his brace.
This gave Lazio a chance to get back into the match; however, Sarri’s men continued to struggle to create chances but still had some momentum going. It was not until two minutes before stoppage time that super-sub Pedro was able to equalize for Lazio, finally beating David Ospina with his beautiful volley from the top of the box.
The game seemed to be finished there and it looked like both sides would leave with a point each. Napoli however, had different plans in mind as they had one last attack and did not waste it as they came charging towards the Lazio defense.
Insigne received the ball and played it to the top of the box where an unmarked Fabián Ruiz was able to strike the ball perfectly, curving it past the Lazio defenders and goalkeeper to find the back of the net, ultimately winning the game for Napoli.
This was frustrating for Lazio as it was a similar goal to the first one that they conceded, where they were not properly marking the opposition and giving them too much space and time to go for a long-range effort.
The game ended 2-1 for Napoli, and this important victory sent them to the top of Serie A. On the other hand, Lazio dropped to seventh in the league; this took a huge blow in their fight for a top-four spot as they are now seven points behind Juventus who sit in fourth place. The Biancocelesti’s next fixture is versus Cagliari who, although are in a relegation battle, have been on decent form recently.