Mar 14, 2013 at 8.05pm UK at ​Stadio Olimpico
Lazio
3-1
Stuttgart

Live Commentary: Lazio (5) 3-1 (1) Stuttgart - as it happened

Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic on November 17, 2012
© AP Photos
Lazio hosted Stuttgart in the Europa League last 16 and increased their 2-0 advantage to go through 5-1 on aggregate.

Lazio hosted Stuttgart behind closed doors, looking to consolidate their 2-0 win in Germany last week.

Two goals inside the opening 10 minutes from Libor Kozac effectively ended the tie as a contest, his second a superb strike in off the underside of the bar.

Stuttgart got a goal back through Tamas Hajnal, but Lazio restored the four-goal advantage with Kozac heading in for his hat-trick.

Read how the action unfolded with our live commentary.


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7.01pmHello everyone and thanks for joining me tonight for this second leg of the Europa League last 16.

7.04pmRemember, Lazio are 2-0 up after an excellent win in Germany last week. They're 2-0 up and, barring a disaster or a Stuttgart comeback, are set to make the quarter-finals.

7.05pmThe team news is in and I'll bring it straight to you. Hold on to your hats.

7.08pmLAZIO XI: Marchetti; Pereirinha, Biava, Ciani, Radu; Candreva, Onazi, Hernanes, Lulic; Mauri; Kozak

7.09pmSTUTTGART XI: Ulreich; Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro; Gentner, Holzhauser; Okazaki, Hajnal, Macheda; Ibisevic

7.13pmSo, the ever-present in the Europa League this season Libor Kozak continues for Lazio. All five of his goals thus far this season have come in this tournament. He'll be supported in behind by Stefano Mauri, who hasn't played in this competition since the group stages in November.

7.18pmIt's a tricky one for Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia. He cannot go too attacking, as a third goal for Lazio really would wrap the game up. He has a pretty strong attack tonight, however, with Vedad Ibisevic up front, supported by a midfield trio of Federico Macheda, Tamas Hajnal and Shinji Okazaki.

7.20pmThe first goal really is the key here tonight. If it goes the way of the Romans then it's goodnight. If it goes to Stuttgart? Well, there will be a real game on. For the neutral, of course, a Stuttgart goal would make it a really interesting prospect.

7.25pmPre-game, Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic was in a confident mood. He thinks that his side could win the Europa League. He said: "This Lazio team wants to do as well as it can. We want to win in Europe."


7.29pmHe also said that his side wouldn't take anything for granted and they wouldn't be trying to sit on the lead. "We do not want to face this match without the right level of concentration. That is the danger and we are working on it. I told the lads that we must play to win."

7.32pmLabbadia was keen to highlight the importance of not conceding. He's aware that the task is probably too great should a goal go in their net, so he wants a balance between attack and defence. He said: "It's vitally important that we take a positive approach to the game and give our all. It's equally important to avoid conceding."

7.36pmSCORE UPDATE: For those keeping an eye out on the other Italian side playing tonight, Inter Milan have just gone 3-0 up against Spurs, levelling it up on aggregate! Incredible scenes.

7.38pmHere, it would only take two goals from Stuttgart to level the tie. However, they are the away side and Lazio are unbeaten in the competition this season, so it's a massive ask.

7.44pmLazio are only slight favourites for the match tonight. They can be backed at about 6/4, while Stuttgart are around 12/5. To qualify, however, is a completely different story. Lazio are huge favourites at 1/20 while Stuttgart are around 10/1.

7.49pmI suppose I should make my prediction...

7.50pmAs much as I want Stuttgart to make this competitive, I can't see beyond Lazio. I do think the Italians will score first, but I fancy the Germans to get one in response. I think 2-1 Lazio seems a good shout, possibly 3-1.

7.55pmThere's just about 10 minutes until kickoff. Already tonight Basel went through despite losing to Zenit, while Rubin Kazan took Levante to extra time before beating them 2-0.

7.59pmRemember, tonight's encounter will be played behind closed doors after the Lazio fans' behaviour in the last round against Borussia Monchengladbach. The full story on that here. What it means is no fierce Italian support to make Stuttgart's night even more tough.

8.04pmThe players are ready for kickoff.

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0 minWe're underway here at an eerie Olympic Stadium. There's something odd about being able to hear the players.

2 minStuttgart have started brightly here. They're zipping the ball about nicely, which is exactly what they must do. Lazio are starting by sitting back, without putting much pressure on the Germans. No chances as yet.

3 minThe first shot comes in from Ogenyi Onazi for the hosts when the ball came out to him about 30 yards out. He drags it well wide, though.

4 minSAVE! Federico Marchetti is forced into a save from a Macheda shot from range, and manages to palm it wide. It was a firm strike, but not likely to go in.

5 minGOAL! Lazio 1-0 Stuttgart (Kozak)

6 minThe ball is played out wide to Radu, who has far too much time to cross for the lurking Kozak. He makes no mistake from close range and that must be that now.

7 minGOAL! Lazio 2-0 Stuttgart (Kozak)

8 minWell, that's the worst thing that could have happened from the point of view of this one becoming a contest. This time Kozak is played in over the top and he races into the box before firing in off the underside of the bar. A superb finish and any hope of it being competitive have been wiped away with this stunning start from the Italians.

10 minBOOKING: Ibisevic is the first into the book for a late lunge on Onazi. The ball pinged about in the box to no avail for the Germans and Ibisevic's frustration gets him booked. He doesn't complain.

13 minStuttgart are stunned, and they're playing like it too. Their passes are slow, off-target and being readily cut out by the men in light blue. Lazio are still playing on the break and look a threat with every attack.

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15 minBOOKING: Hajnal goes into the book now. He was done for pace by Hernanes and tugged him back.

17 minI have to say I've been really impressed with Petkovic since he's taken over Lazio. He's got them playing competitively in a notoriously difficult tactical league and his players are very adapt at this counter-attack style he's got them playing. Perhaps not Italian in style, but very effective in Europe.

18 minCHANCE! The ball is crossed by Okazaki and it goes through a couple of Lazio players before falling to Ibisevic. He was slow to react and controls the ball at the far post straight to Marchetti. He simply has to be more alert!

19 minLazio have been given a free kick here about 35 yards out from a foul by Niedermeier. A great spot for a left-footer to swing in, but I think it'll be Hernanes with his right.

20 minHe goes for goal but Ulreich gets a good couple of hands on it to push it away. Selfish, yes, but it matters little at the moment.

21 minA good spell of passing football involving Macheda ends with the ball coming back to Gentner, who skies it over the bar from distance.

23 minNow Stuttgart can't hang on to the ball. Lazio win it back in midfield and Candreva goes for goal from fully 35 yards. It flies wide, however, but would have been some goal. It had the power and the height, but not the right direction.

25 minSCORE UPDATE: In extra time in the Inter game, Spurs went ahead through Adebayor, but the Italians have hit back through Ricky Alvarez. Five minutes to play there and as it stands Spurs are through on away goals.

27 minBack in Rome, a cross comes in from Macheda, but it's cleared by Lazio. Only as far as Holzhauser, but he finds row Z from almost as far back on the pitch.

29 minStuttgart are still huffing and puffing but there's no way through this Lazio defence. The Italians spring a counter through Candreva, but Stuttgart stop this attack without a chance being created.

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32 minLazio now are seeing most of the ball. They're pressing when not in possession and still attacking with urgency. Okazaki bursts through and has Macheda to his left but instead goes for goal selfishly and puts the ball high and wide.

33 minIt has ended at the San Siro. Inter couldn't find another goal and go out on the away goals rule. It's a shame, as that sort of thing shouldn't decide a contest, but either way it's a huge achievement for Spurs.

35 minCandreva drives in another free kick from range. Ulreich again can't hold it but it doesn't quite fall kindly for the lurking Mauri. Stuttgart escape somehow.

37 minCHANCE! Okazaki swings in a free kick. It deceives Marchetti and is cut back at the far post, but straight to a Lazio defender who clears. If that had fallen to a man in red Stuttgart could have been back in the game.

39 minSuperb driving ball from Holzhauser finds Macheda on the left, but Ciani cuts out the cross and Lazio get it away. Stuttgart are enjoying a lot of the ball at the moment.

41 minMarchetti is down. Ibisevic raced on to a through ball and was beaten to it by the goalkeeper and it looks lik he got slightly caught on the head. He doesn't look at all comfortable, but there was no malice involved at all. He might have to come off.

43 minLAZIO SUB: He indeed cannot continue and Bizzarri comes on for him. We've seen a shot of the cut... and it's more a paper cut. Marchetti doesn't look good in the man stakes right now.

45 minMarchetti being applauded off. I'm not sure who by, there's no-one in the ground as I've mentioned. Anyway, Lazio press down the left through Radu but Mauri's touch lets him down. Two minutes added on.

45+1 minLazio looking like the only team likely to score at the moment. They'll look to take this to half time at 2-0, though.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: Lazio 2-0 Stuttgart


8.53pmSo, as always looked likely after last week, Lazio are cruising into the quarter-finals. The third goal in this tie was crucial and the timing was perfect for Lazio as they quickly knocked the wind out of Stuttgart's sails. They lead 2-0 through two goals from Kozak.

8.58pmIt will be tough being in the Stuttgart dressing room right now. They know it's over but have another 45 minutes to get through. For Lazio, it'll be a party atmosphere. Kozak has been mightily impressive and his second goal was a superb effort off the underside of the bar from just inside the box.

9.02pmReally, the Germans have created little. Petkovic has got his tactics spot on: Lazio are rock solid at the back and both goals came from swift breaks. His side have done exactly what was needed to stop Stuttgart getting back into the tie.

9.06pmBizzarri, who came on for the injured Marchetti, is warming up on the pitch. His teammate wasn't worked too much, so I don't think his warm-up is particularly strenuous. The players are emerging so we're not far from the second half.

45 minLazio get us back underway for the second half.

46 minMolinaro gets in a cross from the left, but Bizzarri gets there ahead of any Stuttgart attackers for his first bit of action.

48 minLazio have started the half playing the possession football. They spent much of the first half looking to hit Stuttgart on the break, but now they can settle and play at a slower pace.

51 minThere's so little zip about this game now. It's what I was afraid of if Lazio scored early on, and both teams are just seeing out the contest now. Ticking down the minutes.

52 minCHANCE! Ibisevic gets space in the box and cuts back. It misses Macheda but falls to Sakai, whose shot is saved and Lazio clear for a corner. A very decent chance that. From the rsulting corner Bizzarri is unconvincing from a shot from range but Lazio escape.

54 minCandreva loves a shot from range. This time he goes with his left foot but Ulreich is down to his left to save easily.

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56 minAside from that chance a few minutes ago, Stuttgart have really struggled to penetrate tonight. They do finally manage it, but Gentner is offside bursting through from midfield. As such, it's Lazio's ball again.

58 minThis half is still yet to come to life and I fear it won't. Stuttgart have just over half an hour to score four goals. Stranger things have happened, but I can't think of many right now.

59 minStuttgart work a nice passing move. Gentner goes for the bottom corner from just outside the box but it's comfortable for Bizzarri.

61 minGOAL! Lazio 2-1 Stuttgart (Hajnal)

62 minSzakai puts in a decent cross, which is only partially cleared to the edge of the box, where Hajnal is waiting to fire low into the bottom corner. Superb finish, but it's too little too late.

63 minSTUTTGART SUB: Ibrahima Traore comes on for Macheda in a like-for-like swap.

64 minLAZIO SUB: Captain Mauri makes way for Ledesma. A slightly more defensive move from Petkovic.

67 minCHANCE! Stuttgart now are coming forward in numbers. Traore puts in a deep cross towards Okazaki but his poked effort goes over the bar.

69 minSAVE! Stuttgart win a series of corners, just ramping up the pressure somewhat. Eventually a poor delivery is cleared but they come again and Gentner looks to have found the bottom corner but a great stop from Bizzarri tips it wide.

72 minStuttgart still with most of the possession but they will need a goal very soon if they are to mount an incredibly unlikely comeback. Traore has been good since coming on.

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73 minLAZIO SUB: Hernanes is coming off, with Ederson coming on.

75 minLazio are now remembering the need to press and are doing so well. They try to break with a ball over the top to Onazi, but he's ruled offside. Replays suggest he perhaps timed his run just right.

77 minFantastic defending on a couple of occasions by Radu on Okazaki, first winning a header then getting his foot in first to pinch the ball.

79 minSuperb play down the left from Radu, skipping past two challenges, but his cross is poor. Lazio lose the ball and Onazi concedes a foul and gives possession back to the German side.

81 minHajnal is brought down 25 yards from goal and Stuttgart have a decent chance from the free kick...

82 minHolzhauser hits it, but straight at Candreva. It comes back out and this time Ciani gets in a block. Biava was booked for the foul a few moments ago, by the way.

84 minCandreva sees a free kick some 40 yards from goal as another opportunity for a shot. That's his worst of the night, however, as it flies about six times higher than the goal.

85 minCLOSE! Niedermeier meets Traore's free kick with a diving header, but glances it narrowly wide of the far post! That would have given Lazio a few nerves, but they survive.

86 minGOAL! Lazio 3-1 Stuttgart (Kozak)

87 minFirst, Kozak is denied a hat trick from close range before Ederson blazes the rebound over. It matters little, however, as Kozak meets a fine Candreva cross to head into the corner for his ninth Europa League goal of the season. If the result wasn't safe, it is now.

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89 minCandreva has been excellent, his shooting aside. He's taken down by Niedermeier to get Lazio a late free kick. Nothing comes from it, though, but Stuttgart give the ball away again. They've been sloppy for the most part.

90 minThree minutes to be added on.

90+2 minNot much chance of any more goals. Lazio are just passing this out.

90+3 minFULL-TIME: Lazio (5) 3-1 (1) Stuttgart

9.58pmLazio have done what was needed and more. They look very strong indeed and no side left in the tournament will want to come up against them, particularly with Kozak so prolific.

9.59pmThanks for joining me tonight for this contest. Stay with us for reaction and news from all of tonight's Europa League games and much more. Until next time.

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