Lazio vs. Sassuolo: Final score 3-2, Radu seals victory in late goalfest

Paolo Bruno

The final few minutes of Lazio's win over Sassuolo were a little more exciting than the victors would've hoped, but Ștefan Radu's brace was enough for them to take all three points.

There was 70 minutes of boredom and 20 of madness as Lazio twice threw away a late lead to relegation strugglers Sassuolo, only to eventually snatch victory inside the final seven minutes. It is the Emilians' tenth defeat in their last 11 games, and means they stay firmly rooted to the foot of the Serie A table.

Despite their struggles this season, Sassuolo did manage to keep their hosts at bay for a large chunk of a painfully boring first half, before a moment of brilliance saw the deadlock broken. Lazio full-back Ștefan Radu lashed a spectacular effort beyond Sassuolo keeper Gianluca Pegolo ten minutes before the break, as the neroverdi's defensive work was undone in an instant.

It was the lone spark in a half without any clear-cut chances whatsoever. Lazio weren't good enough to break Sassuolo's defence down; Sassuolo weren't good enough to string more than a couple of passes together. The result was a dour midfield battle in which no one ever looked like scoring, and in which the biggest excitement resulted from Radu's slight scuffle with Aleandro Rosi.

Miroslav Klose should've sealed the three points for Lazio just short of the hour mark, though under pressure in the box, he fired wide of Pegolo's post.  The second half very much picked up where the first had left off, in a game comparable to paint drying. Sassuolo were a little more proactive, though still never looked like they'd have enough to break their duck.

That was until a lazy giveaway by Cristian Ledesma in midfield sparked a quick neroverdi counter-attack with 20 minutes remaining, eventually culminating in Sergio Floccari stroking home first-time from inside the area; returning to haunt his former club. Unfortunately for the Emilians, their joy was short-lived.

It took just a couple of minutes for Lazio to reassert their advantage, after a slip by Sassuolo substitute Reto Ziegler was pounced upon by Álvaro González. He played Klose in, who made amends for his earlier miss by slotting past Pegolo in a one-on-one. Surely this time, the neroverdi wouldn't have a response ...

Amazingly, they did. The game had rapidly transformed from a miserable midfield skirmish to a late goalfest, with the flurry continuing courtesy of a brilliant free-kick from Sassuolo substitute Antonio Floro Flores. Sassuolo coach Alberto Malesani scurried excitedly about the touchline, perhaps believing his job had just been saved.

Then Lazio ruined his evening a third time, and this time without reply.  Radu hadn't scored a goal all season before this match, but added his match-winning second in the last few minutes, albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances.  His cross from the left flew straight through Paolo Cannavaro and Antonio Candreva, deceiving Pegolo and creeping inside the far post.

Lazio: Berisha; Radu, Dias (Ciani 56'), Biava, Konko; Lulić, Ledesma, González (Onazi 90+4'); Mauri (Biglia 65'), Candreva; Klose.

Goals: Radu (36', 83'), Klose (74').

Sassuolo: Pegolo; Ariaudo, Cannavaro, Mendes; Longhi, Magnanelli, Biondini, Chibsah (Ziegler 46' [Floro Flores 79']), Rosi; Zaza (Berardi 61'), Floccari.

Goals: Floccari (72'), Floro Flores (79').

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