Lazio take slender edge over Viola
Lazio ended a difficult week on a high with a narrow 1-0 win over Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico tonight.
Miroslav Klose scored the only goal of the game in the 36th minute as Lazio got back to winning ways after defeats by Atletico Madrid and Palermo over the last seven days.
The result was just what the Biancoceleste fans needed after a turbulent week, which saw coach Edy Reja offering to step down before changing his mind. Morale was also low after Lazio were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League in midweek at Atletico Madrid, having previously suffered their worst defeat of the campaign, a 5-1 loss at Palermo.
Tonight's win kept the hosts in fourth place, level on 45 points with Udinese, who are third and hold the last UEFA Champions League qualifying spot. Fiorentina, meanwhile, dropped to 16th place with their second straight loss.
The hosts, without six players through injury or suspension, dominated possession, but it was the visitors who had the first chance in the 27th minute. Adem Ljajic's stinging drive from 30 yards was kept out by Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
Reja was forced to make his first substitution on the half-hour mark with Antonio Candreva replacing the injured Senad Lulic. Lazio went in front soon after, though, when a pass from Hernanes found Klose and he beat the offside trap before surging into the area and firing past Fiorentina goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
The hosts almost doubled their lead before half-time when Javier Garrido saw his shot take a deflection off a defender and rattle the crossbar.
Fiorentina came to life in the second half and in the 48th minute Marchetti came off his line to clear Riccardo Montolivo's dangerous cross towards an unmarked Cesare Natali. Alessio Cerci then had a goal disallowed for offside as the Viola continued to push for the equaliser.
On the hour mark, Klose tried his luck from 30 yards and his effort went over the bar. With 15 minutes remaining, Marchetti failed to hold on to Montolivo's free-kick and the ball fell to Andrea Lazzari only for the midfielder to fire wide from a great position.
With four minutes to go, Marchetti saved Lazzari's goal-bound effort from 30 yards as Lazio held on for victory.