Immobile at the double as Lazio destroy Udinese
CIRO IMMOBILE hit a brace either side of Keita Balde’s second-half strike as Lazio moved up to provisional third place in Serie A with a clinical 3-0 win at Udinese.
Amid injuries to Lucas Biglia, Stefan Radu, Bastos, goalkeeper Federico Marchetti and Dusan Basta, Lazio coach Simeone Inzaghi had to tinker for the trip north to Udinese’ Dacia stadium.
But with Immobile spearheading the visitors’ attack and flanked by Keita and Felipe Anderson, Udinese had their work cut out.
In the end, Giuseppe Iachini’s hosts had so little to offer fans started leaving a halffull stadium with 15 minutes remaining.
Immobile headed Lazio into a 28th minute lead and, after Keita burst through to beat Orestis Karnezis minutes after the restart, the Italy international completed his brace with relative ease on the hour.
Lazio’s fourth win in seven games moves them up to provisional third place at two points behind leaders Juventus.
Upcoming fixtures against Bologna, Torino, Cagliari and Sassuolo suggest Inzaghi’s men are in a position to reinforce their place in the top five.
But Keita said Lazio are taking each game as it comes.
“It’s an important win that allows us to go into the international break a little more relaxed, but we’re not looking at the standings, there’s still plenty to play for and we have to take it a match at a time,” he told Sky Sport.
Juventus are away to Empoli later when the champions, aiming for a record sixth consecutive league title this season, will be hoping to maintain their one-point lead on Napoli, who face Atalanta in Bergamo.
Udinese dropped to 14th, eight points behind Juventus and coach Giuseppe Iachini admitted: “After we conceded the second goal it took the wind out of our sails, we struggled to get back into it.”
Lazio started brightly but it took until 25 minutes for them to fully settle into their stride.
Keita’s daisy-cutter was deflected inches past the far post for a corner and from Anderson’s delivery Sergej MilinkovicSavic headed the ball back towards the near post where Immobile beat Karnezis with a superb bullet header.
A Rodrigo De Paul drive for the hosts flashed just wide of Thomas Strakosha’s post and then Emmanuel Badu’s shot was charged down.
But Lazio took a firm grip of the match only minutes into the second half.
A delightful ball by Anderson caught the Udinese defence out and sent Keita through to beat Karnezis with a low drive at his far post.
Immobile then saw his strike from 25 yards deflected out for a corner, but minutes later he completed his brace after a superb move involving Marco Parolo and Lulic.
“We prepared well for the game,” said Inzaghi. “I’m happy because the lads put into practice what we’d been working on in midweek.”
Earlier yesterday, a pair of second-half goals from Riccardo Meggiorini and Roberto Inglese got high-flying Chievo back to winning ways with a 2-0 defeat of struggling new boys Pescara. – AFP