Ten-man Lazio pulls off comeback win
Ten-man Lazio pulled off a superb second-half comeback to beat Cesena at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night.
The hosts trailed 2-0 at half-time and were a man down after Abdoulay Konko was sent off in the 33rd minute, but goals from Hernanes, Senad Lulic and substitute Libor Kozak denied Cesena their first ever league win in Rome.
Cesena had gone in front in the 14th minute through Adrian Mutu, who then earned a penalty after being fouled by Konko, who was shown a straight red.
Vincenzo Iaquinta, making his debut with Cesena after joining the club on loan from Juventus last month, converted the penalty to put his team 2-0 up after 33 minutes.
Lazio then struck three times to claim maximum points and lift them above Udinese and into third place.
Udinese, who are one point behind the Romans, host AC Milan on Saturday.
The defeat left Cesena in 19th place, four points off safety.
Lazio went into the game without 10 first-team regulars because of injuries.
They nevertheless started well, creating the first chance of the evening after four minutes.
Antonio Candreva fed Miroslav Klose in the area and his right-footed strike was kept out by Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli.
At the other end, Iaquinta threatened with a powerful drive that was saved by Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
Cesena then went in front on a fast counter-attack. A great run from Iaquinta saw him get past Giuseppe Biava and put in a cross for Mutu to tap in at the far post.
The home side almost equalised seconds later but Klose’s effort from 20 yards went just wide.
Cesena doubled their lead in the 33rd minute after the referee pointed to the spot after Konko’s foul.
Iaquinta stepped up and struck the ball towards the bottom right corner where Marchetti could not reach.
Lazio, now down a man, pressed forward after the restart and pulled one back in the 53rd minute.
Klose set up Hernanes on the edge of the area and his right-footed shot beat Antonioli.
Lazio made it 2-2 on the hour mark.
Kozak found Lulic in the box and he struck the ball past Antonioli and into the bottom right corner.
Cesena had little time to react as Lazio went in front three minutes later.
The visitors failed to clear Hernanes’ corner and the ball fell to Kozak, who smashed the ball into the net.
Marchetti kept out Marco Parolo’s late attempt to equalise as Lazio held on for victory.