ROME (Reuters) – Lazio moved within five points of Serie A leaders Juventus after coming from behind to win 2-1 on Saturday in a stormy match during which Cagliari coach Ivo Pulga and two of his players were sent off.
Second-placed Lazio have now gone eight league games unbeaten and have 39 points, four clear of Fiorentina in third. Cagliari remain a point above the relegation zone in 17th position.
The visitors were more than a match for Lazio and almost took a shock lead after 18 minutes.
Victor Ibarbo’s burst down the right ended with Radja Nainggolan forcing a wonder save from Federico Marchetti.
Miroslav Klose then missed the best chance of the first half seven minutes before the break.
The Germany international, who has 10 Serie A goals this season, was picked out in the box by Lazio playmaker Hernanes but he dawdled on the ball and after rounding goalkeeper Michael Agazzi he could only scuff a weak shot wide of a gaping net.
Six minutes before Klose’s miss, Pulga was dismissed for complaining to referee Daniele Orsato about a foul given against his team.
He became the second coach to be red-carded after Catania’s Rolando Maran was sent to the stands in their 0-0 draw with Torino earlier in the day.
Marco Sau gave Cagliari the lead after 62 minutes, evading two defenders before sending a low drive back across Marchetti’s despairing dive.
Lazio then put the Sardinian side under increasing pressure and after Agazzi did well to save Antonio Candreva’s smart 79th-minute shot, Abdoulay Konko tapped home the equaliser from the resulting corner.
The home team went in front seven minutes later when Orsato awarded a penalty for a foul by Agazzi on Klose, a decision which led to Cagliari being reduced to 10 men.
Agazzi flattened Klose after the striker tried to chip him and received a second yellow card.
While Candreva waited to take the penalty Cagliari players swarmed around the referee and substitute Andrea Cossu was sent off for protesting.
Eventually the Lazio midfielder slotted in his spot kick to keep his side right in the title hunt.
Earlier, Catania’s Francesco Lodi was sent off in the 13th minute for violent conduct as his team were held at home by Torino who are 13th in the table.
Home coach Maran was dismissed for protesting against a decision while Gonzalo Bergessio also missed a 22nd-minute penalty for ninth-placed Catania.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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