April 8 (Reuters) – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mattia Zaccagni scored as Lazio showed a ruthless attacking streak to beat Juventus 2-1 at home on Saturday as Maurizio Sarri’s side consolidated second place in Serie A.
Lazio have 58 points, five ahead of AS Roma in third with nine matches left in the campaign. Juve, who are fighting for a place in the top six, are seventh with 44 points, four points behind Atalanta, who occupy the final European qualification spot.
“I am proud of the attitude of these players. The consistency we achieved months ago in training is slowly starting to bleed through to the match situations,” Sarri said to DAZN, suggesting they might have benefited from their exits from the Europa Conference League and Coppa Italia.
“In the league, we are a consistent team and the only setbacks tended to be in Europe. The only way we’ll see if we truly have stepped up in terms of mentality is when we can do it every three days.”
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri was absent from the match due to flu symptoms and assistant manager Marco Landucci replaced him.
Lazio, buoyed by their enthusiastic fans in the stands, took control of the match in the opening minutes, threatening to score through Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile.
The hosts broke the deadlock seven minutes before the interval when Milinkovic-Savic converted a cross inside the box with a half-volley from close range.
The goal was given after a VAR check after Juve defender Alex Sandro appeared to be pushed prior to Milinkovic-Savic finding the net.
Yet the euphoria inside the Stadio Olimpico lasted only four minutes before Adrien Rabiot bundled in the equaliser from a corner, after Lazio keeper Ivan Provedel had saved Gleison Bremer’s header.
Although the match was evenly contested, Lazio’s second goal in the 53rd minute was an impressive demonstration of the team’s attacking ability.
Felipe Anderson pulled the ball back from the right towards Luis Alberto, who back-heeled it into the area where an unmarked Zaccagni placed it into the bottom-left corner.
In the moments following Zaccagni’s goal, he thought he had scored a second, but he was offside when he tapped in Milinkovic-Savic’s cross.
Earlier on Saturday, Atalanta failed to take advantage of draws for Inter and AC Milan on Friday, losing 2-0 at home to Bologna.
Editing by Toby Davis
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