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Lazio finish third in Serie A after win at Napoli

Lazio finish third in Serie A after win at Napoli
By Eurosport

31/05/2015 at 23:20Updated 31/05/2015 at 23:39

Serie A, Stadio San Paolo– Napoli 2 (Higuain 55, 64) Lazio 4 (Parolo 33, Candreva 45, Onazi 85, Klose 90)

Lazio secured third place in Serie A and the final Champions League spot with a convincing 4-2 win over Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.

Stefano Pioli's side, who only needed to avoid defeat in Naples to finish in the Champions League play-off position, survived a second-half wobble to silence the sell-out home crowd, although Gonzalo Higuain wasted a glorious chance to make it 3-2 to Napoli when he blazed a 75th minute penalty over the crossbar.

Marco Parolo netted the opener for Lazio just after the half-hour mark, then Antonio Candreva coolly netted a second in first-half injury time from an incisive pass from Senad Lulic.

The home side roared back with two goals from Higuain in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but the Argentine's miss from ten yards proved the crucial moment of the match.

Lazio substitutes Eddy Onazi and Miroslav Klose netted last goals as the Biancocelesti ensured Rafael Benitez's final match in charge ended on a low note.

Both sides ended the match with ten men, as Lazio's Parolo and Napoli's Faouzi Ghoulam both saw red for second bookable offences in the second half.

The defeat, Napoli's first in ten Serie A home matches, sees the Partenopei drop to fifth place, one point behind Fiorentina.

KEY MOMENTS

23' – CHANCE! Callejon rolls the ball wide on a one-on-one with Lazio goalkeeper Marchetti from Higuain's through ball.

33' – GOAL! Napoli 0-1 Lazio. Parolo nets from distance with a left-foot effort for his tenth Serie A goal of the campaign, but Napoli goalkeeper Andujar again was at fault.

45' – GOAL! Napoli 0-2 Lazio. Koulibaly gives the ball away. in a dangerous area, allowing Lulic to nick the ball and roll in a superb pass for Antonio Candreva to net past Andujar.

55' – GOAL! Napoli 1-2 Lazio. Higuain sweeps home a tap in at the far post for his eighth goal in five matches against Lazio from Callejon's low cross from the left.

56' - CHANCE! Napoli break again through Callejon then Mertens sees a low shot cleared off the line by De Vrij.

57' - SAVE! Marchetti saves at his near post from Callejon in the right channel. What did Rafa say at half-time?!!

61' - RED CARD! Parolo gets a second yellow card from referee Rocchi for a late lunge on Lopez.

64' - GOAL! Napoli 2-2 Lazio. Higuain nets a second of the night from Mertens' run and cross from the right, after Koulibaly wins the ball on the left touchline off Anderson.

69' - RED CARD! Ghoulam gets his marching orders for a wild challenge on Lazio sub Cristian Ledesma. Benitez Looks furious on the bench.

74' - PENALTY FOR NAPOLI! Lulic brings down Maggio but that looked outside the area!

75' - MISSED PENALTY! Higuain blazes the spot kick over the bar, his fourth miss from 12 yards this season.

86' - GOAL! Napoli 2-3 Lazio! Onazi shows great pace to get behind the Napoli defence from Ledesma's counter attack and finish past Andujar.

90' - GOAL! Napoli 2-4 Lazio! Klose heads home his 13th goal of the season after outjumping Albiol at the far post.

KEY STATS

Gonzalo Higuain has now scored nine goals in five games against Lazio.

No team has picked up more points on their travels in the second half of the campaign than the 19 Lazio have amassed.

Eddy Onazi's goal came from his first touch after just 99 seconds on the pitch.

TALKING POINT: Has Rafa Benitez been a success at Napoli?

After joining the club in May 2013, Benítez guided the club to victory in the Coppa Italia in his first year in charge, defeating Fiorentina 3–1 in the final. Napoli are the only club other than Juventus to win any domestic silverware in the two years he has been in charge.

He also led the side to the Champions League last season, but failure to finish in the top three this season is a black mark on the Spaniard's CV as he prepare to leave the Stadio San Paolo, possibly to take up the Real Madrid job.

Benitez will argue that he worked on a budget a third of Juventus, with a payroll that was only the fourth highest in Serie A, behind Juve, Roma and Milan.

The club's supporters will argue that Benitez inherited a team that had finished runners-up in 2012-13, ihat he increased the wage bill by €20 million yet failed to replace Edinson Cavani or get the best out of Gonzalo Higuain.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Senad Lulic (Lazio) The Bosnian played a crucial role in keeping Jose Callejon quiet down the Lazio left, and his pass to set up Lazio's second goal was sublime, a threaded ball that bypassed the Napoli defence for Candreva to run on to.

PLAYER RATINGS

NAPOLI: Andujar 6 Maggio 7, Albiol 6, Koulibaly 6, Ghoulam 5, David Lopez 6, Inler 6, Callejon 7, Hamsik 6, Mertens 6, Higuain 8. Subs: Gabbiadini 6, Insigne 6, Zapata 6.

LAZIO: Marchetti 7, Mauricio 7, De Vrij 7, Gentiletti 7, Basta 6, Cataldi 6, Parolo 6, Lulic 8, Candreva 8, Djordjevic 7, Felipe 7. Subs: Ledesma 7, Onazi 7, Klose 7.

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