Lazio-Inter was the most anticipated match going into round 24: it was pretty tight but still had a decent amount of action, so it takes home the shout-out in combination with its potentially huge significance in the title race.
The Biancocelesti were handed their last loss in the first meeting between the two sides back in September and then proceeded to go on a still ongoing terrific run, although they had slowed down a bit lately with two draws in the past four contests. The Nerazzurri were instead coming off two Ws, the first versus Udinese and then a crazy one in the Derby.
Simone Inzaghi picked Luiz Felipe to complete the back-line, then selected Adam Marusic and Felipe Caicedo over Manuel Lazzari and Joaquin Correa for a more muscular posture. Antonio Conte, likely for the same purpose, trotted out Diego Godin and Matias Vecino instead of Alessandro Bastoni and Christian Eriksen, while Antonio Candreva was the choice on the right flank. Lautaro Martinez made his return from a two-game suspension and Daniele Padelli was again between the sticks due to Samir Handanovic’s finger injury.
The Eagles tried to pull the strings and were more proactive throughout the 90 minutes, but the road team was extremely dangerous every time they got a chance to run. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic created the first chance out of the blue, blasting one from distance in the early going, but his attempt, which had left the goalie flat-footed, rattled the crossbar. Romelu Lukaku responded on the other end after a fast-break led by Marcelo Brozovic, but Thomas Strakosha saved his cross-shot pretty easily.
Ciro Immobile tried his luck a couple of times, but his efforts missed the mark. At the 44th minute, Candreva tested the opposing goalie with a powerful strike, the rejection was too central and Ashley Young pounced, putting a bouncing shot in the top corner.
The lead was short-lived because, five minutes into the second half, Milan Skriniar tried to stop a through ball with a slide in the six-yard box, sending the ball up in the air and colliding with Padelli in the process, Godin prevented Milinkovic-Savic from tucking it home but it got to Immobile, who was tackled by Stefan De Vrij while he was about to score. The capocannoniere made no mistake from the penalty spot.
On the other box, Francesco Acerbi got in the way of a Lukaku’s shot after one of the few successful combinations with Martinez. Correa subbed in but badly skied his first attempt. The third and final turning point of the game arrived at the 69th minute: Brozovic saved on the goal-line an attempt by Marusic on a corner kick, the ball was corralled by Milinkovic-Savic following a little scrum and the Serbian powerhouse slotted it home after a pair of classy touches to settle it.
Eriksen challenged Strakosha from outside the box but the goalie answered the ball this time and Martinez was ruled offside on the subsequent goal on the rebound. Immobile sneaked between two defenders, but Padelli miraculously denied him on the one-on-one. Luiz Felipe almost set up Martinez with an errant backwards pass, but Strakosha came out in a hurry to prevent it. Eriksen found Lukaku in the box but Acerbi sandbagged his shot again and that was all she wrote.
Lazio remain undefeated, extending their streak to 19 matches, while the Beneamata suffered their third loss of the season and dropped to third position in the standings. The Biancocelesti have one point less than the League-leading Juventus, Inter three.
In the fantasy game, Immobile and Young amassed four points for scoring, Milinkovic-Savic three as was docked one because he was booked.
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