S.S. Lazio booked their place in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory against Wisla Krákow in a rearranged fourth round second-leg tie in Poland.
Come from behind
Lazio recovered from the setback of Marcin Kuzba's fifth-minute effort to win through with goals either side of half-time from Fernando Couto and Enrico Chiesa. The Italian side, who had been held to a 3-3 draw in Rome, now face Besiktas JK in the last eight. "We deserved to qualify," Lazio coach Roberto Mancini said. "We created a lot of chances, particularly in the first half, and it was a wonderful performance from my players."
Mancini had included goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani in place of the injured Angelo Peruzzi, and the understudy was soon called into action. Wisla began in the style that had brought 4-1 victories in the second legs of their two previous ties, against Parma AC and FC Schalke 04, and that adventure paid off inside five minutes. Midfielder Kalu Uche was the architect, crossing superbly for Kuzba to score with an angled drive from left to right.
The lively Uche then went close to doubling the lead, Couto and Paolo Negro - two of four visiting players booked in a feisty opening period - both being forced to clear off the line to deny the No10. Stung into action, Lazio began to assert themselves and drew level in the 20th minute. Chiesa created the goal, his precise corner finding Fernando Couto whose powerful header beat Angelo Hugues.
With parity restored, the game continued at a frenetic pace. Kamil Kosowski led a series of Wisla forays before Lazio took control in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Hugues produced fine saves from Claudio López and Couto, while César, Dejan Stankovic and Chiesa all went close. Arguably the best chance, however, went to Wisla. Maciej Zurawski, the two-goal hero of the Olimpico, shot over when Kuzba was better placed to finish off a breakaway move.
The second half brought more Lazio pressure, although Marchegiani was beaten by a Kosowski shot in the 50th minute which deflected off Uche before rebounding to safety off the post. "Lazio won because they made fewer mistakes and definitely had the luck," said Wisla coach Henryk Kasperczak. His team were made to pay as Chiesa struck a sublime volley from outside the area three minutes later, a goal worthy of winning any match.
|2002/03 UEFA Cup quarter-final draw|
First-leg matches: 13 March 2003
Second-leg matches: 20 March 2003
* Fixture reversed