Lazio suffer Serie A title blow at Lecce

Serie A (Getty Images)
Serie A (Getty Images)

Lazio's Serie A title dream suffered another setback on Tuesday with a shock 2-1 defeat at struggling Lecce which saw Patric sent off for biting, handing leaders Juventus the chance to move 10 points clear when they face AC Milan.

The capital club, who lost 3-0 to Milan at the weekend, were only one point behind defending champions Juve when the Italian top flight resumed last month following the coronavirus lockdown.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve have the chance to take a giant step closer to a ninth straight Serie A title later on Tuesday.

Defender Patric added to Lazio's problems in injury time as he was dismissed for biting Lecce's Giulio Donati.

Lecce ended a six-match losing streak in dramatic fashion to climb out of the relegation zone, one point clear of 18th-placed Genoa, who host Napoli on Wednesday.

Lazio were without strikers Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo through suspension against Milan, but despite the pair's return they struggled to create many clear-cut chances.

The away side got the better of a dramatic start to the match though, as Lecce midfielder Marco Mancosu saw his stunning long-range strike in only the third minute ruled out by VAR for a handball earlier in the move, before Lazio took the lead a minute later.

Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel mishit a clearance under pressure from Immobile, and although he saved Marco Parolo's initial effort, Caicedo was on hand to slot in the rebound.

But the hosts continued to threaten and grabbed a deserved equaliser on the half-hour mark when Senegalese forward Khouma Babacar nodded home Filippo Falco's cross.

Lazio survived a massive scare on the stroke of half-time as Lecce were awarded a penalty for a controversial handball against Patric, but Mancosu spooned his spot-kick over the crossbar.

Visiting coach Simone Inzaghi threw on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as one of three changes at half-time in a desperate bid to keep Lazio's title hopes alive, only for them to fall behind shortly after the break.

Mancosu saw another effort from outside the box deflected over, but Lecce centre-back Fabio Lucioni headed in the resulting corner to give the home team a shock lead.

Lazio almost slipped further behind, but again Mancosu was denied a goal by a brilliant Thomas Strakosha save from point-blank range.

The second-placed outfit managed to exert some late pressure, but substitute Bobby Adekanye's header was tipped over by Gabriel.

Patric's moment of madness came in the third minute of added time when he bit Donati on the arm and could now face a lengthy ban, especially with the strict COVID-19 regulations in place.

There was still time for Gabriel to save from Milinkovic-Savic and for Caicedo to have a penalty appeal turned down, but Lecce held on.

 

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