Rocchi rescues Lazio
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Substitute Tommaso Rocchi's late goal earned Lazio a 1-1 draw with Villarreal at Stadio Olimpico.Substitute Tommaso Rocchi's late goal earned Lazio a 1-1 draw with Villarreal at Stadio Olimpico.
Rocchi's strike cancelled out Jose Mari's early opener for Villarreal who was later sent off for the Spaniards.
The visitors made a dream start after just four minutes with Jose Mari cutting inside the Lazio defence on the right and dispatching a shot past Matteo Sereni.
Simone Inzaghi missed a gilt-edged chance to draw Lazio level five minutes later when he somehow missed from six yards after Jose Reina had spilled a shot.
Christian Manfredini had a chance for the home side on 20 minutes with a powerful shot straight at Reina.
The dangerous Jose Mari went close to adding a second seven minutes before the break with a shot which flashed just over the crossbar.
Goran Pandev came close to levelling matters on 40 minutes with a stinging volley which Reina at full stretch had to push round the post.
Santiago Cazorla almost added a second for Villarreal two minutes before the interval when set-up by Jose Mari, but Sereni was down smartly to save his shot.
Italian international Massimo Oddo forced Reina into a good save on 64 minutes with a brilliant volley from fully 25 yards which the keeper could only gather at the second attempt.
Jose Mari turned from hero to villain for Villarreal on 74 minutes when he was sent off for an elbow in the face of Giuliano Giannichedda.
Lazio made their numerical advantage count in the remainder of the game and Rocchi grabbed a crucial equaliser six minutes from time with a good finish after being skillfully set-up by Luciano Zauri.
The home side threw everything into attack in the dying minutes to try and win the match, but Villarreal held on for a share of the spoils.
Lazio 1-1 Villarreal