Im­mo­bile at the dou­ble as Lazio de­stroy Udi­nese

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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

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