Serie A - Lazio late strikes stun Milan

Wed, 01 Feb 20:37:00 2012

Hernanes and Tomasso Rocchi struck late on as Lazio blew the Serie A title race wide open with a 2-0 win over AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio's Hernanes celebrates with his team mates after scoring against AC Milan during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Rome February 1, 2012. - 0

After dominating the first half, Milan were denied a penalty a minute into the second half when Andre Dias handled in the box, only for the referee to reverse his decision after initially pointing to the spot.

That controversial moment energised Lazio, who took the lead in the 76th minute courtesy of Hernanes's tidy finish.

Rocchi then swept in at the near post after a neat Lazio move to give the Roman side their first Serie A victory over the Rossoneri since 1998.

Milan went into the game looking to put daylight between themselves and Juventus at the top of the table, but were left ruing a defeat that will leave them feeling aggrieved.

The first 45 minutes was a tight affair and, although Milan controlled much of the play, chances for either side were at a premium.

Milan came closest to breaking the deadlock when Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked out Antonio Nocerino with a pinpoint cross from the right, but the midfielder's header was palmed aside by Federico Marchetti.

Milan reduced Lazio to counter-attack football, but Eddy Reja's side - without the injured Miroslav Klose - seemed more than comfortable with that and threatened to undo Milan on the break.

The home side came closest when Hernanes led the breakaway and found Senad Lulic, but his shot was gathered by Christian Abbiati.

The chance of the half fell to Ibrahimovic, who arched his run to beat the offside trap and go clean through with Robinho in support. But the Swede delayed his pass for far too long, before sending a tame effort at Marchetti - much to the frustration of Robinho.

But the game's key moment came barely a minute after the restart.

The referee pointed to the spot after Lazio defender Dias punched the ball inside his own area, only to incorrectly reverse the decision after consultation with his assistant.

Lazio rarely looked like creating chances and the game was showing all the signs of drifting to a goalless conclusion, but Lazio took the lead with their first clear chance with only 14 minutes remaining.

Latching onto Rocchi's neat flick on the edge of the box, Hernandes got ahead of Thiago Silva to fire across Abbiati and into the bottom corner.

The Stadio Olimpico erupted, mindful that Lazio hadn't beaten the Rossoneri in Serie A since February 1998.

Hernanes should have wrapped up the points when he found himself in space ten yards from goal, but this time put his shot the wrong side of the left post.

But Lazio secured the points in the 84th minute when Rocchi tucked in at the near post after Hernanes and then Lulic combined to good effect down the left wing.

Milan toiled for a response but both Robinho and Ibrahimovic were thwarted as Milan eventually resigned themselves to what could prove a damaging defeat in their Scudetto campaign, leaving them one point behind Juve having played a game more.

Michael Da Silva - on Twitter @mjdasilva / Eurosport

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