MX23RW : Tuesday, January 22 21:53:59
May 31, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadio San Paolo
Napoli
2-4
Lazio
Higuain (55', 64')
Ghoulam (70')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Parolo (33'), Candreva (45'), Onazi (85'), Klose (92')
Parolo (62')

Result: Late Lazio strikes sink Napoli Champions League hopes

Ogenyi Onazi and Miroslav Klose score in the dying minutes as Lazio edge out Napoli for the final Champions League place.

Late strikes from Ogenyi Onazi and Miroslav Klose have helped Lazio secure a place in next season's Champions League, despite a stirring second-half fightback from Napoli.

Napoli nearly took the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour after a low Gonzalo Higuain strike was spilled by Federico Marchetti before the Lazio keeper retrieved the ball ahead of Marek Hamsik.

Napoli's forward from Argentina and France Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match SSC Napoli vs SS Lazio on May 31, 2015© Getty Images

Gli Azzurri squandered another opportunity midway through the first half as David Lopez's poor effort from the edge of the area flew well wide of Marchetti's goal.

The home side's best chance of the opening period came when neat build-up play from Hamsik and Dries Mertens saw Jose Callejon with the chance to shoot before the Spaniard's strike flew inches wide.

Napoli were made to pay for their misses when Lazio hit the front on 33 minutes after a spectacular, if speculative, shot from Marco Parolo took a deflection before beating Mariano Andujar.

On the stroke of half time, Lazio looked to have put a Champions League berth beyond the hosts when an incisive through-ball from Senad Lulic found Antonio Candreva in space before the Italy international tucked his shot low beyond Andujar.

Gli Azzurri looked a different proposition after the break and the introduction Manolo Gabbiadini offered Rafael Benitez's side an extra attacking option as they went in search of goals.

Marco Parolo of Lazio celebrates after scoring goal 1-0 during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and SS Lazio at Stadio San Paolo on May 31, 2015© Getty Images

However, it was star striker Higuain who pulled a goal back on 55 minutes after Callejon timed his pass across the six-yard box to perfection, giving the Argentine international the easy task of slotting into an empty net from close range.

Napoli continued to pour forward and a few moments later, almost found an equaliser through Mertens before Stefan de Vrij cleared off the line to keep Lazio ahead.

Callejon then forced another save out of Marchetti as Le Aquile struggled to hold on to their lead before the home side's task was briefly made easier when Parolo was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The hosts then got back on level terms thanks to Kalidou Koulibaly's persistence, which saw him dispossess Felipe Anderson on the left flank before Mertens teed up Higuain, who coolly slotted home to the delight of a very vocal home crowd inside the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli's hopes suffered a setback when Faouzi Ghoulam was sent off for a poor challenge, which earned him a second yellow card in four minutes.

They were then awarded a penalty for Lulic's sliding tackle on Christian Maggio, giving Higuain the chance to complete a crucial hat-trick.

However, the Argentine forward's spot kick was a poor one as it drifted harmlessly over Marchetti's crossbar.

His penalty miss was punished when Onazi, who had only come on as a substitute 99 seconds earlier, latched on to to Candreva's pass late on before tucking the ball past Andujar with his first touch of the game.

Lazio made sure of victory in stoppage time when another substitute, Klose, slotted home as the visitors sealed third place in Benitez's final match in charge of Napoli.

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Lazio's Italian midfielder Marco Parolo (C) after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs Parma on April 29, 2015
Read Next:
Half-Time Report: Lazio on course for CL place
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Juventus20182041113056
2Napoli20152339182147
3Inter Milan20124431141740
4AC Milan209742820834
5Roma2096537261133
6Lazio209562923632
7Atalanta BCAtalanta2094744271731
8Sampdoria208663526930
9Parma208481924-528
10Fiorentina206952821727
11Torino206952622427
12SassuoloSassuolo206863032-226
13CagliariCagliari204971927-821
14Genoa2055102537-1220
15Udinese2046101725-818
16SPALSPAL2046101628-1218
17Empoli2045112439-1517
18Bologna2028101630-1414
19FrosinoneFrosinone2017121242-3010
20AC Chievo VeronaChievo2018111438-248

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