Fenerbahce progressed to the Europa League semi-finals after an entertaining 1-1 draw with Lazio at a near empty Stadio Olimpico gave them a 3-1 aggregate win.
The Turkish side came into the game with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg but fell behind when Senad Lulic met Antonio Candreva’s cross with a firm header.
Lazio pressed for a second but failed to carve out clear openings against a resolute Fenerbahce side.
And when the ball broke to Caner Erkin in the Lazio penalty area he made no mistake to fire a vicious shot past Federico Marchetti to send the Turkish team into their maiden European semi-final.
An empty Stadio Olimpico played host to proceedings following UEFA’s decision to make Lazio play two matches behind closed doors after racist behaviour from their fans.
It created a strange atmosphere befitting of a training ground exercise with both managers’ instructions clearly audible amid the backdrop of empty seats.
Lazio started nervously, gifting the away side an early corner when Michael Ciani’s poor back pass was miscontrolled by Federico Marchetti, but they grew into the game as the first half progressed.
Antonio Candreva was first to fire at the Fenerbahce goal with a tame low shot before Ederson superbly wriggled clear of a few challenges and shot narrowly wide.
Hernanes’ disguised free-kick almost crept over the line when Volkan Demirel spilled the initial effort but the keeper quickly recovered to grab the ball before Kozak tapped in.
Senad Lulic then burst down the left and delivered a clever centre to the onrushing Candreva but the Italian’s shot flew just over the bar.
On the stroke of half-time Ederson found himself in space inside the Fenerbahce area after great work from Hernanes, but his low shot from a tight angle was saved by Demirel’s outstretched legs.
Lazio picked up where they left off in the second half as Kozak immediately came close with a flicked header and it was becoming clear that Demirel was struggling to deal with anything above waist height.
And it was from a cross that the home side made the breakthrough. The excellent Candreva broke down the right and delivered a pinpoint cross which Lulic met with a powerful header.
The goal lifted Lazio’s spirits and they almost added second when Ederson met a looping Lulic cross only to see his header skid harmlessly into Demirel’s hands.
And they were made to pay when Erkin found himself in space inside the Lazio penalty area, dummying to create space before unleashing a fierce shot into the roof of the net.
Lazio were left needing three goals but they struggled to create clear-cut chances, instead resorting to a series of frustrated shots from distance.
Joseph Yobo survived a late scare when his headed clearance lobbed Demirel before bouncing narrowly wide before the game died out into a frenzy of substitutions and niggling fouls.
Lazio continued to chase the game until the full-time whistle but Fenerbahce held on to reach their first European semi-final.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Antonio Candreva. His wing play and crosses caused the Fenerbahce defence, in particular Volkan Demirel, all sorts of problems. Responsible for creating the opening goal.
LAZIO: Marchetti 6, Ciani 6, Biava 6, Cana 6, Radu 6, Candreva 8, Ledesma 6, Hernanes 7, Lulic 7, Ederson 7, Kozak 7. Substitutes: Klose 6, Flocarri 6, Rozzi 6
FENERBAHCE: Demirel 4, Korkmaz 5, Yobo 6, Ziegler 5, Gonul 6, Meireles 6, Cristian 6, Sahin 6, Erkin 6, Kuyt 6, Webo 6. Substitutes: Ucan 6, Topuz 6, Krasic N/A.
- Sports & Recreation
- Antonio Candreva
- Volkan Demirel
- Federico Marchetti