Trabzonspor snatches disappointment from the jaws of victory in 3-3 draw against Lazio

Trabzonspor snatches disappointment from the jaws of victory in 3-3 draw against Lazio

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Trabzonspor snatches disappointment from the jaws of victory in 3-3 draw against Lazio

Trabzonspor's Paulo Henrique (L) celebrates after scoring against Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchett during their Europa League match at the Avni Aker stadium in Trabzon on Oct 3. REUTERS photo

Lazio stunned hosts Trabzonspor with two late strikes to rescue a point from the intimidating Avni Aker Stadium, scoring twice in the last seven minutes in a pulsating 3-3 draw in Group J of the Europa League.

The Black Sea Storm surprised the Romans with a flurry of goals in the first half before Lazio returned the favor in the late going, with Sergio Floccari playing the hero with twin strikes in the 83rd and 84th minutes.

Goals from Yusuf Erdoğan, Adrian Mierzejewski and Paulo Henrique seemed to put Trabzonspor on course for victory amid boisterous support from the home fans, who had received a call from the club’s administration to get behind the side.

“Are biggest strength is our 12th man. Without them, it’s impossible,” Trabzonspor deputy chair Sebahattin Çakıroğlu said before the match. “Because [our last match against] Konyaspor was played during the day, our supporters didn’t show much interest. They don’t like daytime games. The Lazio match will be different.”

The club’s supporters responded to Çakıroğlu’s call, forming walls of blue and maroon – the club’s colors – on various sides of the ground, although a heavy downpour in the Black Sea province meant there were empty sections in the stadium.

Yusuf opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he slotted past Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti after being fed through by Henrique.

The Black Sea Storm made it two 10 minutes later when Mierzejewski benefited from some fortune, as his shot from outside the box took a deflection off a Lazio defender to loop over Marchetti’s head and into the top corner.

Ogenyi Onazi then silenced the home support by bringing the Italian visitors back to within one with a strike in the 29th minute.

Trabzonspor quickly restored the two-goal advantage, however, as Mierzejewski turned provider for Henrique, neatly putting the Brazilian through on goal to restore Trabzon’s two-goal lead in the 35th minute.

The home side looked set to post a second successive victory in the Europa League as they capably weathered Lazio’s attempts to grab something from the match, only to lose concentration in the closing stages. The usually dependable Onur Kıvrak in Trabzon’s goal allowed the visitors to grab a lifeline when he misjudged a corner, allowing Floccari to head into an unguarded goal in the 83rd minute.

Not content with one, Floccari provided the hosts with an even bigger shock when he beat Onur just one minute later to square the contest at three.

The Black Sea side still tops Europa League Group J with four points from two matches, edging out Lazio by virtue of more goals scored. In the group’s other match, Apollon Limassol upset Legia Warsaw 1-0 to post their first points of the campaign. Trabzonspor’s next match is at home to the Poles on Oct. 24.