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Clinical Lazio through after Sporting triumph

Published: Wednesday 14 December 2011, 20.58CET
S.S. Lazio 2-0 Sporting Clube de Portugal
Goals either side of half-time from Libor Kozák and Giuseppe Sculli earned a victory that sealed the home side's place alongside Sporting in the last 32.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Stadio Olimpico

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Published: Wednesday 14 December 2011, 20.58CET

Clinical Lazio through after Sporting triumph

S.S. Lazio 2-0 Sporting Clube de Portugal
Goals either side of half-time from Libor Kozák and Giuseppe Sculli earned a victory that sealed the home side's place alongside Sporting in the last 32.

Goals from Libor Kozák and Giuseppe Sculli earned S.S. Lazio a victory that, with FC Vaslui losing at FC Zürich in the other Group D game, booked a place alongside opponents Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Edoardo Reja's team began the day level on points with Vaslui, but the Romanian side's superior head-to-head record meant Lazio's fate was not in their own hands. The Rome outfit kept their part of the bargain, forging ahead with Kozák's first goal of the season before half-time and scoring again through Sculli soon after the restart. Celebrations really began after news filtered through of the 2-0 scoreline in Switzerland.

Kozák headed over after a Cristian Ledesma free-kick early on but Lazio had to wait until midway through the first half for their first real opportunity. Sculli dribbled past two Sporting defenders on the left and found Hernanes, whose low shot was well saved by a diving Marcelo.

Sculli was a lively presence on the right. Only the acuteness of the angle denied him after rounding the onrushing Marcelo while Oguchi Onyewu needed to be alert to cut out a pass towards Kozák. The 22-year-old Czech striker finally broke through three minutes before the interval, heading in Senad Lulić's dinked cross.

Sporting, whose passage as section leaders was secured on matchday three, tried to respond early in the second half but Albano Bizzarri kept out a Valeri Bozhinov effort. Instead Lazio went 2-0 up on 55 minutes, as centre-back Modibo Diakitè ran deep into opposition territory before playing a defence-splitting pass for Sculli, who just avoided the offside trap and beat Marcelo with a precise low shot.

Bizzarri made another good save to keep out a Bozhinov free-kick but the news from Zurich was the main cause for the home celebration.

Last updated: 27/11/12 8.22CET

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