Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal seemed to be enough, but in a dramatic conclusion to Sunday’s Serie A contest, Lazio denied Juventus.
Felipe Caicedo was Lazio’s hero as Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Juventus at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday was canceled out by his last gasp strike.
In the absence of star striker Ciro Immobile, Lazio lacked bite, one of three players with Lucas Leiva and Thomas Strakhosha absent after allegedly returning to inconclusive coronavirus tests.
Ronaldo, who returned last week with a double against Spezia after his own isolation due to COVID-19, scored the campaign’s sixth Serie A goal after 15 minutes and that looked enough to settle what was a largely comfortable outing for the visitors.
But in the fifth minute of injury time, substitute Caicedo scored to secure a point for Lazio in a result that leaves Juve three points off Serie A leaders Milan, who have a game in hand.
Juve sampled a few times early on, but Ronaldo sticking out a leg to divert the drilled cross of Juan Cuadrado home, after the Colombian’s great work down the right, was their first significant assault.
Lazio displayed hallmarks of a good side missing their best-attacking weapon, though Vedat Muriqi would have had a little more luck at the end of the teasing header of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic across the face of goal.
When Ronaldo smacked the right post and then forced Pepe Reina into a smart stop with a stinging free-kick, Fortune was on Lazio’s side.
In a second half that struggled to ignite, Ronaldo and Adam Marusic exchanged efforts, while Adrien Rabiot tested Pepe Reina.
Without him, Ronaldo’s team-mates seemed to have finished the job, but Caicedo turned in the area and selected the bottom-right corner after collecting Joaquin Correa’s pass in a dramatic finale that did not fit the rest of the game.
What does that imply? Ronaldo sub proves expensive
In all the competitions that Ronaldo missed, Juve won just one of the four matches but appeared on track for a third win on the spin with their talisman back in the fold. But the decision to take off their best forward may not have been the wisest one with just a slender 1-0 lead, even considering the fact that he was nursing some ankle pain.
In spite of the Juve setback, Ronaldo rocks and rolls
After Paulo Dybala, Ronaldo became only the second Juve player to score in his first four Serie A matches of a season in the three-point-for-a-win era. Out of five attempts, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had three shots on target, another rattling the upright, while he completed 21 of 29 passes.
Caicedo’s Super-sub steps up
Immobile was also not available against Zenit for the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw and Lazio missed the cutting edge of a striker who last term scored 36 Serie A goals.
Muriqi was sufficient, but only one of his three attempts was on target, and after 54 minutes, Simone Inzaghi replaced his striker with Felipe Caicedo. What a replacement it proved to be.
Key Facts about Opta
— For the eighth time in the past 10 Serie A seasons, Juventus are unbeaten in their first seven league matches.
— In 2020, Ronaldo scored 27 goals, higher than any other player in the top five European leagues.
— Caicedo has scored five goals in the 90th minute or later since last season-more than any other player in Serie A.
— Since the start of last season, Lazio have earned 33 points from losing positions, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.
What will be next?
In a little under a fortnight at home in Cagliari, Juve are back in play, though Lazio’s first assignment after the international break is a trip to Crotone.