HT: Lazio crush Novara in Coppa

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Lazio have a 4-0 half-time lead over Serie C side Novara in the Coppa Italia, including a Ciro Immobile brace and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic free kick.

The winners go on to face either Inter or Benevento in the quarter-final.

The Aquile chose a full-strength line-up, missing Joaquin Correa with flu, plus suspended Danilo Cataldi, Alessandro Rossi and Stefan Radu. Serie C outfit Novara had eliminated Perugia, Brescia and Pisa to reach the Round of 16, but had to do without suspended Angelo Tartaglia and Pablo Andres Gonzalez, while Daniele Cacia, Tommaso Bianchi and Diego Peralta were injured.

It was a chaotic start, as on seven minutes a desperate save denied Felipe Caicedo’s header, then Novara immediately went on the counter with a double ricochet off Thomas Strakosha and Bastos sending Nicolas Schiavi’s effort just over the bar from close range.

Lazio broke through when Luis Alberto shrugged off defenders from a Ciro Immobile assist and placed the angled drive past an on-rushing goalkeeper.

Elia Benedettini fingertipped a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic strike just wide and after viewing a potential handball on a Lazio corner, the referee judged it to be an involuntary ricochet.

The hosts did get a penalty a few minutes later for a Ronaldo trip on Milinkovic-Savic. Immobile’s penalty was saved by Benedettini, but he turned in the rebound.

Lucas Leiva blasted not far over the bar, but Immobile completed his brace with an easy tap-in at the end of a well-worked move, Jordan Lukaku rolling across from the left.

Schiavi almost surprised Strakosha off his line from distance, but Benedettini was alert to deny Luis Alberto and Bastos from point-blank range.

Milinkovic-Savic proved he intends to start 2019 on the right foot with a sensational free kick into the near top corner to make it 4-0.

Lazio 4-0 Novara (Half-Time)

Luis Alberto 12 (L), Immobile 20, 35 (L), Milinkovic-Savic 45 (L)

Lazio: Strakosha; Bastos, Luiz Felipe, Acerbi; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Luis Alberto, Lukaku; Caicedo, Immobile

Novara: Benedettini; Cinaglia, Chiosa, Bove, Visconti; Sciaudone, Ronaldo, Nardi; Schiavi; Manconi, Eusepi

Ref: Abbattista

Saved penalty: Immobile 20 (L)

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