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Laxalt has the last laugh, Pandev plays pantomime villain role

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

ROME - Genoa winger Diego Laxalt scored a stoppage time winner, minutes after having a goal controversially disallowed by the video replay system (VAR), in a shock 2-1 win at third-placed Lazio in Serie A yesterday.

Goran Pandev, playing the role of pantomime villain, scored Genoa's first goal against his old club, having earlier infuriated the crowd by lying injured on the pitch and suddenly leaping to his feet to lead a counter-attack.

Lazio's defeat left them 13 points adrift of second place Juventus who thumped Sassuolo 7-0 on Monday. Genoa are 13th.

The game suddenly erupted shortly before halftime when Pandev went down under a challenge from Lucas Leiva and remaining lying on the pitch, apparently injured, while his team mates waved for Lazio to kick the ball out of play.

Lazio ignored their pleas but lost possession to Genoa, at which point Pandev leapt to his feet and charged up the field to lead a counter-attack amid deafening jeers from the Stadio Olimpico crowd.

The Macedonian, who spent five seasons at Lazio, antagonised the home crowd further still by sweeping home Genoa's first in the 55th minute and celebrating vigorously.

Marco Parolo levelled four minutes later when he diverted a cross by Martin Caceres into the net, but there was more drama to come.

With only a few minutes left, Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin sent a long kick upfield, Cacares' attempted clearance was charged down by fellow Uruguayan Laxalt who ran on to score.

But the goal was chalked off for handball by Laxalt after the referee reviewed it using (VAR), a decision which took several minutes to reach.

Genoa were furious, claiming it was accidental, but Laxalt had the last laugh when he headed in from Oscar Hiljemark's cross in stoppage time.

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