Lazio 3-1 Stuttgart: Hernanes helps Biancocelesti progress to quarter-finals
Lazio progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 5-1 aggregate win over Stuttgart on Thursday evening.
Brazilian midfielder Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi scored in Germany last week to give the Italian outfit a 2-0 lead heading into the Stadio Olimpico clash, which was behind closed doors due to a UEFA punishment.
It took just six minutes for Lazio to add to their lead, as Senad Lulic crossed from the by-line and Libor Kozák burst between the centre-backs to score.
Brazil international Hernanes then provided Kozák's second just two minutes later with a long pass, which allowed the young Czech to finish with his right foot.
A fierce Hernanes free-kick forced Sven Ulreich into a tough save while Stuttgart’s Okazaki blasted over on the counter-attack.
The Biancocelesti continued to threaten as Antonio Candreva’s screamer was parried into the path of Hernanes, but his pass back was too far behind Kozák.
There was a scare for the hosts just before the break as Vedad Ibišević pounced on a poor Onazi back-pass and goalkeeper Federico Marchetti bravely rushed out to close it down.
However, the Stuttgart striker kept going and accidentally kicked the Italian in the head, who eventually had to be substituted and taken to hospital for tests.
Lazio seemed content with their 4-0 aggregate lead in the second half and the visitors took advantage to pull one back through Tamas Hajnal, who pounced on a poor clearance to turn in from the edge of the box.
Antonio Candreva should have scored Lazio’s third on the night but somehow missed an open goal after Kozák forced a stunning point-blank save from Ulreich.
The midfielder instead went on to set up Kozák to complete his hat-trick with a trademark header three minutes from time.