In what has been a very successful season for Italian teams in European competition so far, there were mixed fortunes on Thursday night in the Europa Conference League as Fiorentina progressed and Lazio were eliminated.
The Biancocelesti are now the only of Italy’s seven teams who qualified for European competition to have been knocked out. With six teams remaining, no country has more teams left in Europe than Italy now.
Having seen Napoli, Inter and AC Milan all reach the Champions League quarter-finals whilst AS Roma and Juventus reached the Europa League quarter-finals, Lazio could not overturn the deficit against AZ Alkmaar.
Lazio to focus on top-four race
Maurizio Sarri’s side were 2-1 down against their Dutch opposition after the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico a week prior so they headed to The Netherlands knowing they had a job to do.
Things got off to a good start as Felipe Anderson produced a very smart finish after 20 minutes to level the tie at 2-2. It only took a few minutes for Alkmaar to regain control though with Jesper Karlsson’s superb strike from distance.
Alkmaar were keen to kill the game and they did so with half an hour to play. It was another good goal, this time from Vangelis Pavlidis. Lazio went out with a whimper and will now be putting all of their eggs into trying to grab a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League for next season.
Fiorentina’s cup form continues
Over in Turkey, Fiorentina only had a 1-0 lead to carry into the second leg against Sivasspor who are currently in a relegation battle in the Turkish Super Lig.
Things got nervy on the 35-minute mark when Erdogan Yesilyurt scored one of the best goals you will see this season in any competition. Fiorentina soon regained control though as Arthur Cabral’s good European form continued.
Things got more comfortable when Nikola Milenkovic headed in to make it 3-1 on aggregate and from there, a comical own goal and a great strike from Gaetano Castrovilli meant there was no drama for La Viola.
This now means that Fiorentina are in with a great chance of reaching the Coppa Italia final if they can beat Cremonese, and they are into the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League and will fancy themselves against multiple opponents.