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Milinkovic-Savic saves late point for Lazio against Lecce

Milinkovic-Savic saves late point for Lazio against Lecce

May 12, 2023 (AFP)

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic snatched a last-gasp point for Lazio with his stoppage-time leveller in Friday's 2-2 draw with Serie A strugglers Lecce.

Trailing from early in the second half to two goals from Remi Oudin, Lazio grabbed a point in the 94th minute thanks to Milinkovic-Savic's header, which trickled into the Lecce net.

Maurizio Sarri's side are third in Italy's top flight after winning just one of their last five matches, conceding second spot to Juventus.

"It was an angry celebration because it was the equaliser. If it had been the winner it would have been better," said Milinkovic-Savic.

From appearing certain to qualify for the Champions League, Lazio are now looking over their shoulders in the race for the top four spots.

They are four points ahead of fifth-placed Milan, who travel to Spezia on Saturday. Inter Milan will move level on 66 points with second-placed Juve if they beat Sassuolo at the San Siro.

"We need to keep our heads up, we don't have time to get down because we know where we are. We're there (in the top four) and we have three matches left. It's down to us," added Milinkovic-Savic.

His equaliser was a big blow for 16th-placed Lecce, as with three matches left in their season they are five points above Spezia who sit just inside the drop zone.

Marco Baroni's side host Spezia on Sunday week in a match which could either secure their safety or drag them further into the relegation dogfight, depending on how their rivals at the bottom of the table do this weekend.

Lecce should have taken the lead from the penalty spot midway through the first half but Gabriel Strefezza lashed his spot-kick wide.

Ciro Immobile then shot Lazio ahead in the 34th minute after collecting a typically neat through ball from Luis Alberto.

Oudin drilled in the leveller for the away side in first-half stoppage time before then volleying Lecce ahead in the 51st minute.

Lecce held out well until chaos in their box led to Milinkovic-Savic's deflected winner, ending their hopes of taking a huge step towards safety.

However Baroni is not downhearted after an impressive display from his team. 

"This is how we need to play, without any pressure, with this determination, aggression and solidity," said Baroni.

"We could have won the game but the most important thing is the performance, which we need to take with us into the next matches."

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