Grp J: Floccari brace helps Lazio end on top

Sergio Floccari scored twice as Lazio confirmed themselves as winners of Europa League Group J with an emphatic 4-1 win over Maribor in Slovenia.

Sergio Floccari of Lazio celebrates with his team-

Heading into the game on the back of two straight wins that had seen them move to fifth in the Serie A table, Vladimir Petkovic's men were clearly keen to maintain their momentum and secure top spot.

Brazilian Ederson fired the first chance just wide with less than two minutes on the clock, and Ogenyi Onazi drilled a right-footed shot off-target from 25 yards three minutes later.

Lazio took the lead in the 16th minute when Anderson Hernanes crossed from the right flank and Libor Lozak knocked the opener past Maribor keeper Jasmin Handanovic from just inside the box.

Onazi missed the target again from long range while Maribor struggled to make any impression, their first effort a hopeful long-range drive from Agim Ibraimi on the half-hour that was blocked by Lorik Cana.

The visitors extended their lead in the 32nd minute shortly after Handanovic had done well to parry a drilled shot from Ederson behind for a corner.

Stefan Radu got his head on the set-piece from Anderson Hernanes to knock his side's second goal past Handanovic.

With Lazio running riot, Handanovic had to save from Floccari before a third arrived on 38 minutes, Floccari driving the ball home from the left side of the penalty area from a cross from Ederson.

Maribor belatedly stirred with Robert Beric bringing the first save out of Albano Bizzarri, then Marcos Tavares also testing the Lazio keeper, before Goran Cvijanovic fired a 20-yard effort against the bar.

Lazio resumed their dominance early in the second period with Ederson and Kozak both coming close, before the fourth goal arrived in the 51st minute when Floccari curled home his second from 25 yards.

Handanovic saved from Ederson and Floccari volleyed wide as he searched for a hat-trick, while at the other end Beric almost managed a consolation when his drive was tipped round the post by Bizzarri.

Maribor finally grabbed a consolation nine minutes from time when Tavares fired home from the right side of the box.



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