Red Bull Salzburg soar to shock quarter-final victory over Lazio

Red Bull Salzburg came from behind to earn a stunning 4-1 victory that secured an unlikely Europa League semi-final berth at the expense of Lazio.

The Austrian outfit’s chances of progressing looked all but gone when Ciro Immobile broke the deadlock after 55 minutes to put Lazio 5-2 up on aggregate.

But just two days after Roma’s unbelievable victory over Barcelona, Salzburg followed in their footsteps to dump out the Italians’ arch-rivals.

Moanes Dabbur equalised 84 seconds later to boost Marco Rose’s side’s slim hopes of progressing before Amadou Haidara, Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer struck inside four second-half minutes to turn the quarter-final tie on its head and seal a 6-5 aggregate win.

The home side had the first sight of goal after five minutes when a great slide-rule pass from Xaver Schlager picked out Hwang inside the Lazio area but his effort was well-saved by Thomas Strakosha.

Lucas Leiva saw his strike from range blocked by Andre Ramalho as Lazio began to dictate possession but neither side threatened the opposition goal until the 36th minute when the match sparked into life.

Duje Caleta-Car headed Valon Berisha’s outswinging corner wide of the target for Salzburg before Immobile failed to connect with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s scooped pass.

Immobile came close to breaking the deadlock two minutes before the break when he collected a neat backheeled pass from Luis Alberto, but his effort from seven yards out was repelled by the legs of goalkeeper Alexander Walke.

Andreas Ulmer panicked the Lazio defence on the stroke of half-time with a driven low ball across the face of goal, which almost found the far corner, before Immobile had a glorious chance to open the scoring at the start of the second half.

The Italy international was sent through by a long ball from Luiz Felipe but he could not lift the ball over the onrushing Walke, who did well to deny the striker.

However, Serie A’s leading goalscorer earned an away goal for Simone Inzaghi’s side when a great through ball from Luis Alberto from his own half set Immobile free and he showed composure to find the top right corner with an exquisite finish.

But Salzburg were soon level through Dabbur’s deflected strike from the edge of the area to round off a quick passing move from kick-off, giving the hosts some faint hope of getting back into the tie.

The equaliser galvanised Salzburg, with Schlager clipping a post from range before Haidara went one better from 30 yards to put the home side in front with a powerful drive into the bottom corner in the 72nd minute.

Lazio could have put the match to bed with a three-on-two break, with substitute Felipe Anderson sliding Luis Alberto through, but his effort was straight at Walke.

Hwang ghosted behind the Biancocelesti defence to collect Caleta-Dar’s long ball, which he fired past Strakosha via a deflection off Stefan Radu to put Salzburg 3-1 up and through on away goals.

However, the home side ensured they won the match as they moved further ahead after 76 minutes when Berisha’s corner was flicked on by Ramalho for Lainer to stoop home and nod into an empty net at the far post to spark wild celebrations at the Red Bull Arena.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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