STADIO OLIMPICO (ROME): Lazio made a big early statement in the Europa League by hammering their toughest group rivals Feyenoord 4-2 in Rome, as Matias Vecino scored his first two goals for the club.
Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson struck early, and Uruguay international Vecino found the net in either half to seemingly end the game as a contest.
However, substitute Santiago Gimenez pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot before netting again at the death, and Lazio breathed a sigh of relief when a late penalty decision against them was overturned.
The Dutch side will be sick of the sight of Roman opponents now, having lost to AS Roma in the final of last season’s Europa Conference League, and Lazio’s win sent them top of Group F ahead of Sturm Graz, who beat Midtjylland 1-0 in Austria.
Lazio one of few positives in another disappointing European week for Serie A sides
It ended a disappointing first week for Italian clubs in Europe on a high, as Lazio followed Napoli’s example against Liverpool to become only the second of the seven Serie A sides to earn a midweek victory.
The Biancocelesti wasted no time in asserting their dominance, as they went in front inside four minutes when Alberto latched onto a Vecino pass to calmly finish beyond Justin Bijlow.
A quick counter-attack led to Lazio’s second, Ciro Immobile spreading the ball wide for Anderson to cut inside and blast a powerful left-footed effort past the keeper. Two shots, two goals.
A last-ditch tackle from David Hancko and point-blank save by Bijlow on Vecino only kept the score down momentarily, as the Uruguayan soon finished off a rebound to notch his first goal in a Lazio shirt.
Alberto hit the bar direct from a corner and Adam Marusic had a shot well saved as Lazio continued to apply pressure before the break.
Feyenoord came back brighter after the restart, but any hope of a remarkable comeback was deflated when Alberto threaded a ball into the path of Vecino, who dispatched a fine finish into the bottom corner for his second of the night.
Feyenoord quickly pulled one back through a penalty after Vecino caught Gimenez, who then stepped up to dispatch the spot kick.
The Dutch visitors reduced the deficit further with a late strike from Gimenez, and they were awarded a late penalty that could’ve set up a dramatic finale, only for the referee to check the pitchside monitor and decide that Mario Gila’s tackle was legal.