Lazio leapfrogged Inter in the top four spots after a tense but vital 1-0 win over a resilient Udinese side.
Milan’s dominant 5-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday put the pressure on Maurizio Sarri and his squad for their clash with the Bianconeri, closing their lead in the top four race to just one point. The Roman outfit were given a boost by Napoli’s win over Inter, however, and they did not waste the opportunity in the 36th match of their Serie A season.
Sarri took no major risks with his Lazio lineup, although Matias Vecino was forced to start in place of the injured Danilo Cataldi, who is still suffering from a calf issue. Udinese’s main absence was talismanic forward Gerard Deulofeu, who has been sidelined for months with a serious injury.
The first half at the Dacia Arena was a balanced and tense affair, with both sides pushing and probing to try and find an early advantage. Neither were successful, however, although both produced a few close chances.
The second half saw the balance shift to Lazio’s favour and Maurizio Sarri’s side were clearly on the front foot in Udine. After 15 minutes of pushing, Ciro Immobile was seemingly fouled by Adam Masina in the penalty area, prompting referee Luca Pairetto to point to the spot.
The Lazio captain made no mistake from 12 yards out, giving his team a 1-0 lead over Udinese after 61 minutes. The Biancocelesti then started to push for a second, keen to kill off the match.
Whilst Lazio’s efforts were ultimately in vain, they held onto their lead and saw out the victory, securing all three points in a must-win clash. The Roman outfit have now leapfrogged Inter in the Serie A table and sit third, putting them on the cusp of confirming Champions League qualification.