Europa League Classics: Salzburg 4-1 Lazio

Gen up on this victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat quarter-final tie, then watch it in full.

Salzburg made it past Real Sociedad and Dortmund to reach the UEFA Europa League last eight in 2017/18, but looked to have bitten off more than they could chew in Lazio.

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Context

First leg highlights: Lazio 4-2 Salzburg
First leg highlights: Lazio 4-2 Salzburg

The first UEFA Europa League quarter-final to be staged in Austria was all set to be anticlimactic, Salzburg’s 19-match unbeaten run in Europe having clattered to an end with a 4-2 loss at Lazio in the first leg. The Rome-based side came to Salzburg having never lost a competitive game to Austrian opponents (W4 D3), and with on-song Ciro Immobile having already made his mark in the clubs' opening meeting.

Key players

Munas Dabbur: Signed from Swiss outfit Grasshopper-Club, the Israel striker got into a fearsome goalscoring groove in 2017/18, finishing the season with 29 in all competitions for Salzburg. The next term he hit 37, earning himself a move to Sevilla.

Ciro Immobile: A powerful forward with great movement, Immobile sparkled intermittently for a sequence of Italian clubs but hit his peak after joining Lazio in 2016. He bagged a career-best 23 in Serie A in 2016/17, but had already exceeded that haul by the time of the Salzburg tie.

2017/18 Europa League: Top ten goals
2017/18 Europa League: Top ten goals

Stefan Lainer: The son of Leo Lainer – a defender who represented Austria and Austria Salzburg – the right-back’s delivery from the flanks was excellent, helping him secure a regular slot for the national team. He also scored goals, as Lazio discovered.

What happened

It was 0-0 at half-time, and Salzburg’s hopes of an upset seemed to have dwindled after Immobile notched his 39th Lazio goal of the season ten minutes after the restart. However, Salzburg were instantly back on terms, Dabbur’s deflected shot finding the target, and they then ramped up their efforts to dramatic effect.

In the end, they turned the tie on its head with a trio of finishes in the space of 247 seconds – the quickest three-goal salvo in Europa League history. Amadou Haidara's 72nd-minute strike from 25 metres left Lazio looking stunned, and then Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer scored to make it 4-1 on the night – and 6-5 on aggregate.

Reaction

Six of the best Europa League knockout ties
Six of the best Europa League knockout ties

Stefan Lainer, Salzburg defender: "I have no words. It was unbelievable, an unthinkable evening. I think this game will be remembered for decades in Salzburg. It was just wonderful for the whole of Austrian football."

Valon Berisha, Salzburg midfielder: "It was just awesome. The fans pushed us from the beginning and we always believed that we could score goals – and in the end we did."

Marco Rose, Salzburg coach: "That was a great night of football. We have shown our fans a brilliant game. That was our aim."

Simone Inzaghi, Lazio coach: "Salzburg deserved to qualify. We had a shutdown after they equalised and lost our self-belief. We had qualification in hand so naturally we have regrets. It’s tough, but we need things like this to grow."

Elsewhere that night

2018 final highlights: Atlético 3-0 Marseille
2018 final highlights: Atlético 3-0 Marseille

Salzburg were not the only side to enjoy a magical evening. Marseille trailed Leipzig 1-0 from the away leg and went a further goal behind just 70 seconds into the Stade Vélodrome rematch. However, an own goal by Leipzig's Stefan Ilsanker opened the floodgates, Bouna Sarr and Florian Thauvin netting to give Marseille a 3-1 lead on the night – and the aggregate advantage. Jean-Kévin Augustin replied for Leipzig, but Dimitri Payet’s solo goal – and a late bonus effort from Hiroki Sakai – completed a memorable shift.

Aftermath

Salzburg were set up for another dramatic resurrection in the semi-finals after a 2-0 first-leg loss at Marseille. They hauled OM back to 2-2 on aggregate after 90 minutes, but Rolando’s goal after 116 minutes denied them a place in the decider. Right-back Lainer had the small consolation of being named in the UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season.

Immobile’s extraordinary 2017/18 produced 41 goals in all competitions. He and coach Inzaghi are still with Lazio.