Lazio draw 1-1 with Villarreal

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:08 IST

An 84th minute goal from substitute Tommaso Rocchi saved Italian club Lazio from defeat to Villarreal of Spain in their opening UEFA Cup Group E match.

Lazio draw 1-1 with Villarreal

Rome:

An 84th minute goal from substitute Tommaso Rocchi saved Italian club Lazio from defeat at home to Villarreal of Spain in their opening UEFA Cup Group E match in Rome on Thursday. Jose Mari Romero had put the La Liga side ahead in the 5th minute, but was sent off with 15 minutes left, allowing the Biancocelesti back into the game. In the Group's other match, Middlesbrough of England beat Egaleo of Greece 1-0 in Athens. Poor domestic form this season meant that both Lazio and Villarreal had the chance to give their season new impetus on Thursday as they met in Group E of the UEFA Cup in Rome on Thursday. The visiting Spanish side had much the better of the first half, but just had Jose Mari Romero's fifth minute strike to show for their efforts against a nervous Italian back line. If the Biancocelesti were a little fortunate in front of their own goal, they were unlucky at the other end - Simone Inzaghi, just back from injury, clipped a post trying to follow up Christian Manfredini's long range effort on ten minutes.And a minute before the interval, Inzaghi was involved again as he headed on a Fabio Liverani cross, only for his Macedonian strike partner Goran Pandev to volley straight at Jose Manuel Reina. Seconds later the impressive Argentine Juan 'Roman' Riquelme gave his Villarreal team mate Roger the chance of doubling their lead, but Matteo Sereni palmed his shot away to safety. With the visitors content to sit back on their lead in the second half, all looked bleak for Lazio until fifteen minutes from the end, when Jose Mari tangled first with Luciano Zauri then substitute Giuliano Giannichedda and was sent off by German referee Michael Weiner. Lazio made their numerical advantage pay with just six minutes left. A deft flick from Inzaghi set another replacement, Tommaso Rocchi on his way and a nudge over the 'keeper saw the ball find the net. The 1-1 result was more than Lazio deserved in the end and Villarreal will travel back to Spain a disappointed side, looking hard at Jose Mari's antics as they do so. (AP)



Topics : Football
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