Fiorentina vs Lazio: Final score 0-1, Viola's Champions League hopes take a hit

Paolo Bruno

Lazio dealt Fiorentina's challenge for a Champions League place a major blow after a 1-0 victory in Florence.

Lorik Cana struck the only goal of the game to keep Lazio in the hunt for a place in next season's Europa League. Fiorentina failed to take advantage of Napoli dropping points and fall seven points behind the third and final Champions League slot.

Viola boss Vincenzo Montella was serving a touchline ban, while Modibo Diakité, Borja Valero and David Pizarro were also suspended.

Lazio kept faith with goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, despite the custodian being at fault for two of the goals that led their exit from the Europa League on Thursday night.

The away side hit the front after just five minutes when Fiorentina failed to clear a corner. The ball fell kindly to Cana, who hit an overhead shot that Neto could only get a slight touch on, unable to keep it out. Antonio Candreva almost made it two just minutes later, but Neto denied him at the near post.

Fiorentina simply weren't clicking during the early stages. Massimo Ambrosini was denied a penalty after a blatant dive in the box. Manuel Pasqual's free kick across the face of goal failed to reach Gonzalo Rodríguez and Joaquín Sánchez sent a deflected effort high and wide.

Neto rescued Gonzalo when he nearly put through his own net and Alessandro Matri failed to turn in another chance which flashed dangerously across the Lazio box.

Matías Fernández and Gonzalo both headed over from unmarked positions minutes before half time, while Abdoulay Konko got a touch on a Candreva cross and saw his volley hit the crossbar.

After the restart, Senad Lulic took his eye off the ball and missed a volley at the far post. Substitute Ogenyi Onazi then dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.

Juan Cuadrado ran at goal and pulled back for Joaquin, but the Spaniard couldn't keep his shot down. Montella made a double change, bringing on Anderson and Mario Gómez.

On 72 minutes, Matri's backheel teed up Nenad Tomović, but the defender blazed his shot over. Lazio almost doubled their lead 15 minutes from the end. Brayan Perea played in Onazi and the Nigerian toepoked his shot straight at Neto. The Nigerian recovered the ball and aimed a cross for Perea's head, but Neto ran out to catch the ball. At the other end, Marchetti bravely ran out to punch a cross away from the head of Gomez.

Onazi was given acres of space to run at goal as Lazio broke clear with a three on two advantage. Onazi delayed his pass far too long and Cuadrado eventually got back to intercept a through ball intended for Perea.

Fiorentina had their best chance of the game eight minutes from the end. Aquilani powered a header at goal, only to see Marchetti dive and pluck it out of the top corner.

Fiorentina: Neto; Tomović, Gonzalo, Savić, Pasqual; Aquilani, Ambrosini, (Anderson 57) Mati; Cuadrado, Matri, (Wolski 73) Joaquín (Gomez 57)

Lazio: Marchetti, Ciani, Biglia, Gonzalez, Lulic, Ledesma, (Onazi 46) Radu, Cana, Konko, (Novaretti 63) Perea, (Keita 90) Candreva

Goals: Cana 5 (L)

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