Serie A | Monza 2-2 Lazio: Djuric damaging Euro ambitions

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Milan Djuric struck twice to claw Monza back into a 2-2 draw, stalling Lazio’s Champions League ambitions despite Ciro Immobile and Matias Vecino goals.

The Biancocelesti were still in the hunt for Europe and potentially even the top five, with Mario Gila the only remaining absentee, as Ivan Provedel returned to the bench after almost two months out. The hosts had Roberto Gagliardini suspended, Patrick Ciurria, Andrea Carboni, Daniel Maldini and Jose Machin injured, plus Armando Izzo and Dany Mota Carvalho not at 100 per cent.

Milan Djuric shaved a coat of paint off the far post after five minutes with his angled drive following a quick give-and-go, but it was the visitors who took the lead.

Daichi Kamada’s deflected strike was somehow palmed onto the underside of the crossbar by a stunning Michele Di Gregorio reaction save, but Ciro Immobile was ready to pounce on the rebound. The captain was celebrating his first goal since February.

Monza really should’ve equalised on 22 minutes when Andrea Colpani floated a cross in from the right, but Valentin Carboni incredibly turned the free header wide from close range.

Patric blasted over on the rebound and Di Gregorio parried an Immobile back-heel flick, but Igor Tudor hauled Mattia Zaccagni off after just 32 minutes because he was already booked for a late tackle and continued to go into risky challenges.

Mattia Pessina stung the gloves of Christos Mandas from distance and Warren Bondo turned a free header wide of the far post, again letting Lazio defenders off the hook.

Colpani managed to dribble past both Nicolò Casale and Mandas, only to narrow the angle too much, allowing the goalkeeper to get back and make the save.

There was drama when Monza got the ball in the net with Djuric from a tight angle, on the rebound from Mandas save on the Pessina diving header from Giulio Donati’s cross, but VAR over-ruled the linesman’s offside flag due to Casale’s position.

However, Donati was then at fault for restoring Lazio’s lead, as his back-pass to a distracted Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro was intercepted by Matias Vecino to beat the stranded Di Gregorio into an empty net.

Mandas flew to fingertip a sudden Pablo Mari rocket out from under the crossbar, while Di Gregorio got down for a one-handed save on the Matteo Guendouzi daisy-cutter.

Deep into stoppages, Monza caught up again with a towering Djuric header on the Pessina cross from the left to loop into the bottom corner.

Immobile 11 (L), Djuric 75, 92 (M), Vecino 83 (L)

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