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Hernanes pushes Lazio past Legia

SS Lazio 1-0 Legia Warszawa
A powerful header by playmaker Hernanes early in the second half gave the home team a winning start in Group J.

Hernanes celebrates in acrobatic fashion
Hernanes celebrates in acrobatic fashion ©AFP/Getty Images

SS Lazio grabbed the early initiative in UEFA Europa League Group J by beating Legia Warszawa 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio coach Vladimir Petković rested the likes of Miroslav Klose, Cristian Ledesma and Antonio Candreva in favour of 18-year-old forward Keita Baldé, who made his first senior start. The decision was vindicated seven minutes after the break as Baldé executed a perfect cross for Hernanes to score the game's decisive goal.

A flurry of early corners augured well for the home team with Ederson and Abdoulay Konko both going close. At the other end, Federico Marchetti made a superb reaction save when Jakub Kosecki controlled a long ball and shot with only the Lazio goalkeeper to beat. Kosecki went close again moments later with a curling effort that flew centimetres wide of the far post.

The Biancocelesti stepped up a gear after the break and were rewarded for their intent when Hernanes found the net with a powerful header. The Brazil schemer then struck a post with a low drive after beguiling a couple of Legia defenders. Jan Urban's side pushed hard for an equaliser as the clock ticked down, but Lazio defended stoutly and almost added another when Diego Novaretti's sharp header drew a fine stop from Legia goalkeeper Wojciech Skaba.


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