(EFE) – A goal by Argentine Joaquín Correa in the first half allowed Lazio to get a meritorious draw against Bruges (1-1), since the covid-19 forced coach Simone Inzaghi to leave many of his players in Italy usual.
The draw allows the Italians to share the lead of their group with four points along with Bruges, who deserved more in the second 45 minutes but did not find a goal.
Lazio was planted on the grass with an unknown lineup. Only six starters from last week’s game against Borrusia Dortmund were able to repeat in the starting eleven, as figures such as Luis Alberto, Ciro Immobile, Andreas Pereira, and Lucas Leiva had to stay in Italy.
Joaquín Correa was decisive, especially at the beginning of the match, and the Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina shone in the second half, when his team needed him most, with a couple of saves that could well mean the victory of the Belgians.
Correa tried his luck in the fourth minute with a loose shot that Mignolet saved without a problem, but did not forgive in the second he had. In a quick attack by the Italians, Adam Marusic gave him a horizontal pass on the edge of the box. The former Sevilla player took Simon Deli away without touching the ball and beat the Bruges goalkeeper with a splendid left-foot strike.
Although Bruges controlled possession in the early stages, it was Lazio who created the most danger through counterattacks. Former Spanish player Felipe Caicedo was close to scoring the second header.
The Belgian defense showed signs of being more orderly from minute 20, the center of the field began to work and the chances arrived. Forward Charles de Ketelaere was unable to take advantage of a resounding failure by Lazio’s defense in his own area and, only against Reina, sent the ball wide.
Lazio’s cons came mainly from the right wing, and in one of them Caicedo and Akpa-Akrpo got in the way when heading from the penalty spot.
Brujas advanced lines as the first half progressed and approached little by little until, on the edge of the break, the Spanish Patric made an unnecessary grab in a corner. Referee Anthony Taylor let the play continue and when the ball went out, it only took one replay of the VAR to signal the maximum penalty. Vanaken, from eleven meters, deceived Reina with a shot from the left and equalized the score.
Inzhagi appeared to punish Patric at half-time when he decided to put him on the bench instead of Andreas Pereira. Shortly after the restart, Emmanuel Bonaventure stood in front of the Spanish goalkeeper, but the forward was very heeled to the right and the Madrid-born shortened enough to send it to a corner with his leg. In the next action, Mats Rits made a powerful shot with the head rejected again by the goalkeeper with a quick draw.
The Belgians kept attacking, but neither Rits nor Eduard Sobol found a goal. Lazio, meanwhile, tried his luck with a set piece and, in one of those, Vedat Muriqi headed too high.
It was a miracle that neither team scored in the final fifteen minutes. In 77 it was the turn of the goalkeeper Mignolet to shine, when he cleared a strong shot from Milinkovic-Savic for a corner.
An oversight by the Italian defense almost cost him the game right after. Reina couldn’t block a hard shot and Ruud Vormer rebounded too high. Then De Ketelaere made a nice cut in the area, but his shot was blocked by the defense. Shortly after, in the other area, Pereira received in the area alone and, instead of shooting, he entertained himself with the ball, letting a defender of the Belgian team block his shot.
Bruges hounded at the discount without success. With this result, the classification of group F is tightened. Brugge and Lazio share the lead with four points, Borrusia Dortmund has three and Zenit remains at zero.