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Duric scores twice as Monza hits Lazio's Champions League hopes with draw

Milan Duric Monza Milan Duric - The Canadian Press

MILAN (AP) — Milan Đurić scored twice, including a stoppage-time equalizer, as Monza held Lazio 2-2 in Serie A on Saturday to hinder the capital club’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

The result ended Lazio’s four-match winning run and left Igor Tudor’s side seventh, three points behind Roma, which occupies fifth place and the final Champions League qualifying position after Italy earned an extra spot in next season’s competition.

Sixth-place Atalanta is only a point ahead of Lazio but has played two fewer matches.

At the other end of the table, relegation-threatened Sassuolo recorded a surprise — but crucial — 1-0 victory over newly crowned Serie A champion Inter Milan.

Things appeared to be going to plan for Lazio when it took the lead in the 11th minute. Monza goalkeeper Michele Di Gregorio did brilliantly to palm Daichi Kamada’s deflected strike onto the bar but Ciro Immobile tapped in the rebound.

It was the Lazio captain’s first goal since February.

Monza went close several times and equalized in the 73rd when Đurić fired in the rebound after a great save by Christos Mandas to parry Giulio Donati’s header. The goal was initially ruled out for offside but that decision was overturned by the video assistant referee.

Donati went from hero to villain 10 minutes later as his woeful back pass was intercepted by Matías Vecino, who fired past a stranded Di Gregorio and into an empty net to restore Lazio’s lead.

However, Đurić headed in Matteo Pessina’s cross in the second minute of stoppage time.


Inter, which won its 20th Serie A title last month, endured only its second league defeat of the season. Its only other loss, back in September, was also against Sassuolo.

Armand Laurienté returned from suspension and his 20th-minute strike was enough to give Sassuolo its second win in its last 16 matches.

Lautaro Martínez thought he had equalized on the stroke of halftime but it was ruled out by VAR for offside.

Sassuolo moved to within two points of safety, just below Hellas Verona, Frosinone and Empoli which are all on the same number of points.

Empoli will host Frosinone on Sunday, and Verona plays Fiorentina.


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