Luca Toni nets equalizer as Hellas Verona draw European hopefuls Lazio
Lazio saw its four-match winning streak broken with a 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Thursday.
Senad Lulic gave the side from the capital the lead just before the break but when Luis Pedro Cavanda pulled back Juanito Gomez in the area to earn his second yellow card, Toni made no mistake from the spot. Lazio continued to press for a winner despite being down to 10 men but neither side could find the vital goal and the points were shared.
It was a quiet start with Nico Lopez’s cross evading everyone and ending up safely in the arms of Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti. Lucas Biglia then found an opening down the other end but his shot was high and wide as the visitors attempted to put their stamp on the game.
Marchetti was beaten in the 21st minute as Toni controlled a ball over the top from Emil Hallfredsson beautifully with his right foot and rifled home with his left but the former Italy international as marginally offside. Barring that chances were at a premuim but Lazio were looking the more likely to score with Lulic heading weakly wide from a corner and Biglia blazing over again from distance.
And they did just that three minutes before the break thanks to a howler from Vangelis Moras. Antonio Candreva crossed from the right and the Greek defender missed the ball completely as he swung a boot to clear, leaving Lulic to finish from three yards.
Verona came out with purpose in the second half and Toni had three good chances to net the equaliser within four minutes. First Hallfredsson whipped in a free-kick which the veteran got on the end of but saw his shot saved by Rafael.
Moments later he fired into the side-netting after showing great technique to hit a volley after the ball had ballooned off Stefan de Vrij but he will have been most disappointed to miss his next opportunity in the 54th minute. Lopez went on a darting run down the right and provided the perfect cross for Toni but the 37-year-old could only head over the bar when he really should have done better.
Despite those three chances, Lazio were playing the better football and enjoying the more possession but the home side were doing well to keep them at bay. The visitors continued to press but it was Verona who equalised from the penalty spot in the 69th minute when Cavanda was handed his marching orders.
The full-back had already been booked for an earlier foul and when he took a firm grip on the right wrist of Gomez in the box and pulled the substitute back, the referee had no choice but to point to the spot and produce a second card. Toni stepped up and sent Marchetti the wrong way, beating him low to his right, to level the scores.
Despite being a man down, Lazio continued to force the issue and Marco Parolo produced a smart run and cross but Candreva could not get any power on his header. Gomez blazed a shot wide at the other end after Toni mishit his effort from the edge of the box – but neither side could find a winner.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.