Not since October 1998 have Lazio defeated Inter on their own turf in Serie A. However, goals from Sergio Floccari, a Hernanes penalty and Ogenyi Onazi broke that record. Ricky Alvarez replied for the Nerazzurri and missed a penalty which would have levelled the game at 2-2. Inter’s 15 losses is a new club record for a domestic season and effectively ends their European pursuit.
The Biancocelesti had lost the last seven fixtures away to Inter, but came into the game brimming with confidence after a 6-0 thrashing of Bologna at the weekend. It came as no surprise when Vladimir Petkovic named an unchanged side.
The game cut a frenetic pace from first whistle to last. Alvarez stung Federico Marchetti’s palms in the opening minutes with a rocket from outside the box. Marchetti suffered a scare trying to cut out a through ball for Rocchi when he collided with Abdoulay Konko and went flying. The match was briefly stopped while the goalkeeper received treatment after landing hard on his side.
Miroslav Klose stabbed over from Senad Lulic’s cut back on nine minutes, before Rocchi forced a two handed stop from Marchetti with a first time shot.
Lazio took the lead against the run of play halfway through the first half. Samir Handanovic flapped an Antonio Candreva cross and the ball ricocheted off Andrea Ranocchia’s back and went in off Floccari's shoulder. Candreva missed a golden chance to double the lead less than 60 seconds later. Klose released the winger on the overlap, but he managed to drag his shot wide of the post.
Inter’s injury curse struck again when Jonathan came off worse after a challenge with Floccari. The defender was stretchered off and taken to hospital with a shoulder injury.
Lazio again threatened on the half hour. Candreva’s shot was parried and Floccari’s follow-up was blocked by the Inter defence. Alvarez netted an equaliser moments later, getting above Stefan Radu to meet Alvaro Pererira’s cross from the byline. The ball went in off the underside of the bar and took Marchetti by surprise.
The home side rallied, but couldn’t get their noses in front. Cambiasso saw a shot parried onto the post by Marchetti, then, three minutes before the break, the Argentine dummied Pereira’s low cross and Alvarez blazed over from six yards.
In stoppage time, Lorik Cana cut out Fredy Guarin’s low cross before Alvarez could pounce, then, Lazio were awarded a penalty with the last kick of the half. Candreva’s clever ball unlocked Floccari and the frontman was tripped by Ranocchia. Hernanes – on his 100th Serie A appearance, stepped up and buried his spot kick over the diving body of Handanovic, who is yet to save a domestic penalty so far this season.
Inter emerged the more dangerous of the two sides after the break, but the injury hoodoo claimed Ranocchia seven minutes after the restart, bringing the inexperienced Simone Pasa into the mix. Still, the hosts pegged their visitors into their own half. Guarin teed himself up for a shot which just whistled past the far post, while Marchetti gathered Mateo Kovacic’s grasscutter. A poor defensive header from Konko gave Guarin licence to shoot, but he lofted wide from six yards.
Lazio reinforced their midfield to get a footing back into the game. Rocchi was denied a penalty on 69 minutes after deflecting a ball onto Alvaro Gonzalez’s arm. However, on the very next attack, Candreva lost possession and Cana clipped Guarin to concede a penalty. Alvarez stepped up, only to slip at the crucial moment and balloon his spot kick into Row Z.
The visitors sauntered forward. Hernanes tested Handanovic from distance, before Juan Jesus tugged Klose down. The defender was spared a red for not being the last man, but a booking still rules him out of the weekend game at Genoa.
Lazio turned the screw and put Inter out of their misery with a stunning strike. Substitute Onazi unleashed a 35-yard thunderbolt which flew into the top corner and gave Handanovic no chance. Pereira’s late caution was the icing on the cake, as he too skips the Genoa trip to leave Andrea Stramaccioni with virtually no recognised defenders at his disposal.
In stoppage time, Marchetti saved from Rocchi with his feet, then stopped a Luca Garritano bullet, before watching Kovacic’s follow-up deflect wide off Rocchi.
Inter Milan: Handanovic; Jonathan, (Benassi 30) Ranocchia, (Pasa 53) Juan Jesus, Pereira; Kuzmanovic, (Garritano 80) Kovacic, Cambiasso; Guarin; Alvarez, Rocchi
Lazio: Marchetti; Konko, Cana Dias, (Ciani 46) Radu, Candreva, Ledesma, (Onazi 60) Hernanes, Lulic; Floccari, (Gonzalez 59) Klose
Goals: Floccari 22, (L) Hernanes pen 45 (L) Onazi 77 (L) Alvarez 33 (I)