Lazio snatch draw with Verona as Europa bids dented
Captain Stefano Mauri scored a controversial late penalty to salvage a share of the spoils for Lazio in a 3-3 draw at home to Verona on Monday as both sides dropped points in the race to qualify for Europe.
Lazio and Verona are among several teams fighting for three Europa League places on offer this season, the third coming courtesy of the Italian Cup which Napoli won after defeating Fiorentina 3-1 on Saturday.
Following earlier goals from Marquinho and Juan Iturbe, Verona looked set to move up to seventh place when Romulo tapped home a low cross from the left to give the visitors a 3-2 lead with seven minutes to play.
Verona were given a boost two minutes later when Senad Lulic, who had put the Biancocelesti ahead for the second time in the match -- following Keita Balde's 30th minute opener -- on the hour mark, saw red for a brutal foul on Iturbe.
However Lazio were handed a lifeline in injury time when the referee pointed to the spot after Miroslav Klose fell easily after contact from Michelangelo Albertazzi, who was also sent off.
Mauri saw his spot-kick saved by Rafel in the Verona net but the Lazio skipper pounced on the loose ball to tap home and secure a share of the points.
The result saved face but did little to help either side's Europa League bid.
Torino remain sixth on 55 points, with a one-point lead on both Parma -- 2-0 winners against Sampdoria at the weekend -- and AC Milan, who beat Inter Milan 1-0 in their city derby on Sunday evening.
Verona and Lazio are a point further adrift in ninth and 10th places.
Juventus, who secured their third consecutive title on Sunday when closest rivals Roma crashed 4-1 at Catania, host Atalanta in Monday's late game.
Fiorentina, in fourth and already qualified for at least the Europa League, host relegation-haunted Sassuolo on Tuesday when third-placed Napoli entertain Cagliari in the hope of cementing a Champions League place with victory.