Lazio Down Chelsea In Thrilling 1st Leg Tie
Miroslav Klose celebrates his winning goal as Lazio downed Mourinho's Chelsea.
LAZIO 3 CHELSEA 2
Willian (7, 54)
A. Cole (19)
Courtois OG (45+1)
Lazio take a one goal advantage into the 2nd leg in London next month following an end-to-end encounter.
Lazio Starting XI (5-2-3):
Marchetti, Cole (C), Alvarez Balanta, Astori, Bellusci, Abate, Verratti, Motta, Ince, Candreva, Klose.
Chelsea Starting XI (4-2-3-1):
Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (C), Nkoulou, Chalobah, Bender, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Costa.
Matt Cox's Lazio came out on top in an intense battle against 2012 Champions League
were full of smiles as they shared a joke and embraced on the touchline before the game, but all laughs were put aside as the game started at an electric pace with Chelsea
looking to grab an early away goal.
They did just that 7 minutes into the match as Brazilian trickster Willian
raced clear of former teammate Ashley Cole
to make himself space on the right flank. The former Shakhtar
player was left unchallenged as he waltzed into the box and slid a cute finish past Federico Marchetti
in at his near post. With Chelsea
picking up an early away goal, they could have made it two a couple of minutes later when Diego Costa
was played through by Fabregas
for a one-on-one chance with Marchetti
, however the Lazio
stopper managed to make himself big and smother the tame effort from the Spanish striker.
finally gained a foothold in the game and started to play some neat football in the opposition's half. On 19 minutes Ignazio Abate
made a clever run down the right wing and played a dipping cross into the box. With the Blue's back-line flailing, former Chelsea
favourite Ashley Cole
was perfectly positioned to sidefoot the ball into the back of Courtois'
open net. The ex-England man spent 8 years at Stamford Bridge and showed his respect to his former employers by keeping his celebrations to a minimum.
Both teams were caught battling in midfield following the equalizing goal but with both teams looking as though they head into the changing rooms level at half time, Lazio
struck. Antonio Candreva
had time to look up and shimmy past Cesar Azpilicueta
and deliver a rifle of a drilled cross into the Chelsea
6 yard box. Cahill
tried to clear but the goal rebounded off PSG
loanee Marco Verratti
; ensuing in a goalmouth scramble worthy of a schoolyard football match. Nkoulou's
attempted clearance only ended up ballooning the ball into the air towards his own goal, where goalmouth predator Miroslav Klose
was lurking to pounce with a bullet header that rebounded off the bar and onto the back of a sprawling Thibaut Courtois
who could only watch in agony as the ball rolled into the back of his own net, giving Lazio
a one goal lead heading into the second half.
Following the half time break Portuguese mastermind Jose Mourinho
was extremely animated on the sidelines after seeing his side's comical defending in the first period. His side started the brighter and just like the first 45 minutes, Willian
was celebrating another fine solo effort. The Brazilian faked the ball past Davide Astori
to give himself a clear shot on goal but played through Eden Hazard
who had a chance one-on-one with Marchetti
. The Belgian ace unselfishly played the ball back to Willian
who dinked past the flailing Lazio
goalkeeper to tap the ball into an empty net.
With both teams looking antsy as the game headed into the final 15 minutes it was Lazio
who took their chance to hit a game winner. Ashley Cole
played a long cross-field ball to Abate
who knocked the ball on to Candreva.
The Azzurri winger than drove forward and played a through ball to the overlapping Abate
. The flying wing back then played an inch perfect cross onto the left foot of the onrushing Klose
who couldn't miss as he volleyed home the pass unmarked to give Lazio
the advantage heading into the 2nd leg.
Willian celebrates his equalizer - his second goal of the game.
After the match Lazio
was over the moon to get one over Mourinho
and take a victory into the 2nd leg: "At the end of the day I wanted to head to London with a win. It would have been nicer not to let Chelsea get an away goal, let alone two. But if you would have offered me a 3-2 win before the game I would have taken it. Mourinho is an inspiration and there aren't many players who have played for him that have a bad thing to say about the man. It means even more that we beat a Mourinho team and now we have to really keep our focus to win at Stamford Bridge."
was disappointed with the loss but insists that his side still hold the advantage: "Congratulations to Matt and his team, they deserved their win today. They had more desire than us and they had more luck than us. However we have two away goals and that works in our favour for the 2nd leg. We will definitely score in London and they will not be able too, my team will make sure of that."
The 2nd leg will be played at Stamford Bridge on March 10th with kick off at 7:45pm and will be live on Sky Sports 1.