STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): Lazio’s winning run came to an end as a Nico Gonzalez stunner earned Fiorentina a 1-1 draw in the capital against the sluggish hosts, who missed the chance to go second in the Serie A table.
The Aquile came into the game on a high after a 4-0 drubbing of AC Milan on Tuesday made it three wins on the trot in all competitions, and they looked set for another comfortable night when Nicolo Casale scored after eight minutes.
But Fiorentina grew into the game, restricting Maurizio Sarri’s side to little possession and few chances, and Gonzalez drew them level with a curler from the edge of the area early in the second half.
The result leaves Lazio in third place, level on 38 points with Atalanta and AC Milan, while Fiorentina are 12th on 24 points.
Lazio took the initiative
The hosts took the lead with the first chance of the match, Casale stabbing home a loose ball from a corner after Fiorentina failed to clear their lines.
It was the centre-back’s first Lazio goal and his first ever in Serie A, but he faced a nervy wait before VAR confirmed it was allowed to stand.
Fiorentina’s familiar struggles to turn possession into goals were on display again as they were reduced to efforts from outside the box, the best coming when Luka Jovic forced Ivan Provedel to palm a shot over the bar.
Not that Lazio were able to take advantage. They created almost nothing, save for wild efforts from Luis Alberto and Pedro, in a sloppy and sluggish first half performance.
The visitors came out after the break full of energy and Gonzalez made the hosts pay for their doziness when he danced in off the right wing and curled a perfectly-placed effort into the far corner, beyond the reach of the diving Provedel.
Conceding their first goal in four matches sparked some life into Maurizio Sarri’s men, as Mattia Zaccagni nicked the ball of Giacomo Bonaventura in midfield and teed up Felipe Anderson, only for the Brazilian to slide his finish wide.
Fiorentina still looked the likelier to find the crucial third goal, though, as Jovic’s header required a diving save from Provedel and Riccardo Saponara was furious to be booked for diving when he claimed he was tripped by Elseid Hysaj in the box.
Lazio needed a lease of life and there is no greater supplier in these parts than the introduction of their all-time top scorer Ciro Immobile, who made his return from injury with 20 minutes left.
He quickly made his presence felt, finding space to get a shot away from 16 yards, but the Italy striker could only fire wide.
The momentum was with the hosts now, but Immobile couldn’t quite reach a clever Sergej Milinkovic-Savic dinked pass and was at full stretch as he fired over.
Jonathan Ikone got on the end of a dangerous Antonin Barak cut-back and tried to guide a shot into the corner, but Zaccagni – of all people – made a crucial block to deny the substitute.
Fiorentina were happy to run the clock down in the closing stages, drawing roars of frustration from the Olimpico stands.
But they threatened a late winner when Riccardo Saponara’s shot from a tight angle was tipped around the post and Nikola Milenkovic struck the bar from the resulting corner.