Thursday, September 29, 2022

Soccer: Lazio sink Inter 3-1 to take top spot

Soccer: Lazio sink Inter 3-1 to take top spot

ROME (Reuters) - Lazio's Felipe Anderson, Luis Alberto and Pedro secured a 3-1 home victory over Inter Milan that took their side top of Serie A as the visitors dropped their first points of the season on coach Simone Inzaghi's return to his old club.

Lazio provisionally lead the standings with seven points from three games, while Inter are a point behind in fourth.

"We've been sending some good signals lately, as we go through periods of being under pressure without actually risking much at the back," Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri told DAZN.

"This team has gained in solidity and organisation, so we are capable of beating anyone on the day, but our problem has always been consistency."

Lazio flew out of the traps against Inter in an attempt to gain an early advantage, after they failed to score for the first time in 10 league games when they were held to a goalless draw by Torino last time out.

Clearly fired up, they sent the visitors an early alert when striker Ciro Immobile received a beautiful pass inside the box and tried to beat Inter keeper Samir Handanovic with a first-time shot which went just wide of the right post.

Lazio's captain, who scored the most goals (27) during the 2021-22 Serie A season, had another chance in the 37th minute -- this time on target -- but his strike was cleared by Handanovic.

It took the hosts three more minutes for Anderson to finally put them in front with a header just before halftime, after the Brazilian was perfectly set up in the box with a cross by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

HUNGRY LAZIO

Maurizio Sarri's men came back wanting more in the second half and Immobile almost immediately took another shot at goal, but his attempt at the near post was again saved by Handanovic.

Inter, who lacked a clear chance in the opening period, equalised from a free kick in the 51st as defender Denzel Dumfries nodded the ball to the unmarked Lautaro Martinez who netted from close range.

A minute later, Inter went close to taking the lead when Dumfries got his head to Federico Dimarco's high cross and sent the ball bouncing off the ground just in front of Lazio keeper Ivan Provedel, who managed to tip it over the bar.

However, Lazio substitute Luis Alberto restored the lead for the hosts with a sublime strike from distance in the 75th, while Spain forward Pedro made it 3-1 before the final whistle.

"The defeat stings because of the way it happened," Inzaghi said. "Luis Alberto's goal broke the game. At 1-1 we had Dumfries' chance that would have changed things."

Having won their league opener against Bologna, Lazio have now got maximum points from their first two home Serie A games for the first time since 2015-16.

They are also unbeaten in their last four home league matches against Inter, having lost the previous three.

In the next round of games, Inter host Cremonese on Tuesday while Lazio travel to Sampdoria on Wednesday.