S.S. Lazio prised open the door to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals with their first ever win in Germany, triumphing 2-0 at VfB Stuttgart.
Ederson gave Vladimir Petković's side a 21st-minute lead after the hosts had failed to clear their lines and the Stuttgart defence was all but absent when Ogenyi Onazi ran from halfway to wrap up victory early in the second half. Quick to punish those lapses, Lazio now look to have one foot in the last eight ahead of next week's second leg.
Lazio invited Stuttgart to attack early on, getting numbers behind the ball, and had Federico Marchetti to thank for tipping Shinji Okazaki's early header over with a fine reflex save. The visitors were playing cautiously, frustrating their hosts and waiting for the kind of mistake which arrived midway through the first half.
William Kvist sliced his clearance and Arthur Boka did no better as a rebound off Bruno Pereirinha set up Ederson, who turned on the spot and struck low into the bottom corner. Stuttgart, undeterred, kept their shape and searched for an equaliser, Antonio Rüdiger volleying over and Okazaki missing from point-blank range.
The Biancocelesti had the best chance before the interval, though, with Ederson's header flying over – and his side would not have to wait long to double their lead. Their chance came with their next opening, 11 minutes after the restart, as Onazi picked up the ball just inside his own half, dummied around a static Rüdiger and coolly slotted past the onrushing Sven Ulreich.
That put Lazio firmly in the driving seat, yet there may still be a story to be told in this tie, given Stuttgart's form of three consecutive away wins in this competition and nine goals scored. Lazio are yet to lose to Bundesliga opposition in Rome – but, then again, before tonight, they had not won in Germany in four attempts.
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