MILAN: A late equalizer from Suso secured a share of the points as AC Milan relaunched their Europa League bid with a precious 1-1 draw at Lazio on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Lazio, fighting for a top three finish in a tightly-contested Serie A, looked to be heading for a second successive win after their 6-2 romp at Pescara after Lucas Biglia put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.
But Simone Inzaghi’s men were stunned five minutes from the end at a near empty Stadio Olimpico when Suso cut in from the right to curl a superb shot past Tomas Strakosha in the Lazio net at the keeper’s far post.
Inzaghi saw the glass half full but admitted the result should have been different.
“I’m very proud of what I saw. We should easily have won this game but sometimes you just don’t hit the net,” said Inzaghi.
“In the end a great goal from Suso secured a draw which, for me, wasn’t deserved.”
Milan had ended a recent three-game losing run with a come-from-behind win at Bologna in midweek, and this result has kept Vincenzo Montella’s men in the fight for a Europa League place.
Milan remain in seventh, 19 points behind leaders Juventus and 10 points behind Napoli in third.
“We will do everything we can to try and qualify for the Europa League,” Suso told Mediaset.
“They did well to score when they did, but we came back into it in the second half. They only got chances after we were attacking.
“But it’s a precious point for us.”
Lazio are in sixth, three points further ahead although the Biancocelesti could have made the difference in a promising first half, that nonetheless started ominously.
Goalkeeper Federico Marchetti injured his knee in the warm-up, and 21-year-old Tomas Strakosha had to step in.
The first chance fell to Lazio, but Ciro Immobile flicked a nod-on from a corner wide at the back post.
Teenaged Milan ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma did well to push Biglia’s half-volley away, the 17-year-old also saving the rebound.
Immobile headed wide from a Marco Parolo cross and saw one penalty claim waved away after a challenge from Gustavo Gomez, before firing wide under pressure from Ignazio Abate.
Donnarumma then blocked Wesley Hoedt’s effort from close range while at the other end Strakosha was called into action to smother a low shot from Lucas Ocampos.
Lazio took the lead in timely fashion, Immobile winning a penalty with a great touch that prompted the onrushing Donnarumma to send the Italy forward sprawling.
Donnarumma was furious but rightly the penalty stood and Biglia stepped up to beat the keeper down low to his right.
Milan thwarted efforts by Felipe Anderson, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile in the second half and the hosts were eventually made to pay for their profligacy.
Montella’s men began to find their stride and Strakosha had to be at full stretch to palm away a Jose Sosa free-kick late one.
The ‘keeper was left clutching at thin air in the 85th minute when Suso collected inside the area, controlled and curled the ball into the far corner to secure a share of the points.