Marusic floors Juventus at the death to hand Tudor dream Lazio debut

An Adam Marusic header deep into stoppage time gave Lazio coach Igor Tudor a dream debut against former club Juventus in Matchday 30 of Serie A


STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): On a night filled with novelty, Lazio’s clash with Juventus seemed destined to be characterised by the frustratingly familiar instead.

Blunt attacks at both ends left a goalless draw seeming inevitable, only for Adam Marusic to become the unlikely match-winning hero in the dying seconds by heading home to secure a 1-0 win in Matchday 30 of Serie A.

The goal sparked euphoric scenes in the Olimpico as Igor Tudor celebrated a debut to remember and a result that could prove invaluable in rescuing the Biancocelesti’s season.

Lazio in the ascendancy

Tudor’s side played a hybrid system, with a three-man backline on the ball and a four-man defence off it, but they were let down by some sloppy finishing until the Montenegrin wing-back’s late strike.

Lazio have revived their flagging European qualification hopes with back-to-back wins, but still have a lot of ground to make up to catch the Champions League chasing sides above them.

As for Juventus, their winless run now stands at four games and they have just one victory in the last nine – a run stretching back to mid-January.

The Old Lady still have a strong grip on third place for now, but will be nervously glancing over their shoulders should this streak continue much longer.

Juve don’t have to wait long to try and claim some revenge, as they host Lazio on Tuesday in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.

Juventus forward Federico Chiesa takes on Lazio’s Felipe Anderson (@Juventusfcen)

Tudor makes immediate impact

Tudor’s new system was immediately clear to see, with Lazio transitioning between different tactical setups and Marusic moving up and down the pitch between phases.

The hosts quickly became the dominant team in possession, but they were almost caught out at a set piece when Bremer rose to head a dangerous Federico Chiesa free-kick wide.

Not to be deterred, Lazio soon found their groove in attack, Tudor’s pledge to send plenty of numbers forward being realised, only to be let down by poor finishing as Taty Castellanos twice fired wide from good positions in the space of three minutes.

Wojciech Szczesny’s blushes were spared when he lost the ball in the box but Lazio failed to capitalise, and he made up for it moments later with a diving save to deny Felipe Anderson as the Aquile dialled up the pressure.

Allegri, who quickly marked his 500th Serie A coaching appearance with a booking for dissent, got his team to settle and they finished the half strongly, Adrien Rabiot setting up Chiesa for a curling shot that was tipped wide by a sprawling Christos Mandas.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny clears the ball (@Juventusfcen)

Lazio pounce at the death

Weston McKennie and Samuel Iling Jr were introduced at the break as Allegri looked to inject some more energy into his side, and he was almost immediately rewarded for the decision when the latter’s cross found Andrea Cambiaso at the back post for a tightly angled volley that was beaten away by Mandas.

But it proved to be a false dawn for those hoping for an end-to-end second period, Juventus retreating deeper and deeper and Lazio failing to take advantage as a series of long-range shots flew off target.

Just as things looked to be fizzling out, Matteo Guendouzi curled an inviting cross towards the back post for Marusic to hammer home the winning header before hurdling the advertisement boards to celebrate with the disbelieving home fans.


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