SS Lazio moved closer to qualification in UEFA Europa League Group J with Sergio Floccari paving the way for a 2-1 victory against Apollon Limassol FC with two first-half goals.
The striker broke the deadlock after 14 minutes with an opportunistic finish before heading in the second eight minutes from the interval. Apollon quickly reduced the deficit through Fotis Papoulis, but an equaliser proved elusive for the Cypriot side, who are now four points adrift of second-placed Lazio in the section.
Lazio attacked mostly from the left where the 18-year-old Keita Baldé was a constant threat. On 13 minutes, the product of the FC Barcelona cantera beat a defender with a series of step-overs before sending in a low cross which took a touch off Emerson on its way to Floccari in the middle of the penalty box. The striker duly found the bottom corner of the net with his right foot.
Brazilian midfielder Hernanes then forced Bruno Vale to make a difficult save with a shot from the edge of the box while Floccari just missed the target from a promising position after another good pass from Keita. The 31-year-old made amends soon afterwards, getting a head to Keita's corner from the right.
Apollon responded just two minutes later when Papoulis controlled a pass from Gaston Sangoy inside the box before beating Lazio's debutant goalkeeper Etrit Berisha with a precise low shot.
Bruno Vale kept out a dangerous Hernanes free-kick early in the second half while Floccari fired over when presented with an open goal after another good Keita pass. Papoulis had a golden opportunity to level the scores with 21 minutes remaining but Berisha produced a wonderful one-handed save to block his powerful shot from close range. Apollon pushed hard until the final whistle but Lazio defended well to earn three important points.
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