Lazio keep pressure on Juventus with tight Torino win


Rome (AFP) – Lazio kept the Serie A title race alive and kicking on Tuesday after coming from behind again to win 2-1 at struggling Torino and move a point behind league leaders Juventus.

Ciro Immobile’s 29th league goal of another remarkable season for the Italy forward and Marco Parolo’s deflected strike completed a deserved second-half comeback for Lazio, who had clawed their way to a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in similar fashion just two days earlier.

Simone Inzaghi’s side are second in the league on 68 points, on Juve’s tails ahead of their match at relegation-threatened Genoa later on Tuesday.

Andrea Belotti gave the hosts an early lead from the penalty spot after Immobile handled but spent the rest of the match on the back foot and stay 16th on 31 points.

Moreno Longo’s side have lost seven of their last nine matches and although they are six points above the drop zone could find themselves dragged into a dogfight by the end of this round of fixtures.

Lazio meanwhile are still in the hunt for their first league title in 20 years and are also practically guaranteed Champions League football next season for the first time since 2007-08, as they are 20 points ahead of fifth-placed local rivals Roma.

The Roman side got off to the worst possible start at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino when former Torino forward Immobile charged down Nicolas Nkoulou’s powerful effort only to touch the ball with his arm.

Referee Davide Massa had no choice but to point to the spot, allowing Belotti to rifle home his fifth-minute opener, and also booked Immobile, who will now miss Saturday’s visit of resurgent AC Milan.

Immobile then compounded his error on 23 minutes by blasting over when set through on goal by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Lazio were denied an leveller again just before the break when Francesco Acerbi was ruled offside after heading home Luis Alberto’s free-kick.

However Serie A’s leading scorer Immobile made up for his disastrous first half two minutes after the break when he put the away side level, collecting a lovely Alberto pass before rolling home a well-placed left-foot finish.

The goal was another example of Spaniard Alberto’s importance to Lazio, as it was a league leading 13th assist of the season for the former Liverpool man.

Immobile’s strike also meant the Italy forward equalled his own record for the highest number of goals scored by a Lazio player in a Serie A season.

With the pressure piled on Torino, Parolo then gave Lazio a precious victory when his shot, which came just after Milinkovic-Savic had drawn a save from Salvatore Sirigu, was deflected by defender Bremer past his bemused stopper.

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