'Speechless' Caicedo grabs late point for troubled Lazio against Juventus

Milan (AFP) –


Ecuador's Felipe Caicedo again came off the bench to rescue Lazio as he claimed a late equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Juventus after Cristiano Ronaldo's early goal for the visitors in Rome.

Ronaldo had opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour but the Serie A champions let the game slip when the Portugal star limped off with an ankle sprain and Caicedo fired in five minutes into injury time.

"I'm speechless, a goal like this leaves me speechless," said Caicedo, who also scored for in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and clinched the winner in last weekend's 4-3 victory at Torino.

Juve missed the chance to move second behind Serie A leaders AC Milan. They trail their northern rivals, who host Hellas Verona later on Sunday, by three points.

"We had a good match, there were no signs of danger," said Juve coach Andrea Pirlo.

"But championships are won on details, too bad only for those last ten seconds."

Simone Inzaghi's hosts, embroiled in coronavirus chaos, are ninth, five points off the leaders.

The home side were without striker Ciro Immobile, midfielder Lucas Leiva and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, who remain in isolation.

The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from playing Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.

However, the players including Immobile were included against Torino, following negative tests carried out in a lab used by the club.

They were again left out again this weekend after a further round of tests.

"This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA," said Inzaghi, adding he was "calm" despite the current crisis.

"What I achieved as a coach with only 12 or 13 players available, I could not do more. It was a difficult period for us, with plans A, B and C.

"In such a moment, today's match against Juve is a great match."

- Ronaldo 'crucial' -

Lazio midfielder Luis Alberto returned after recovering from the illness with the hosts also boosted with defender Stefan Radu back after a month out injured.

Pirlo's men were again without captain Giorgio Chiellini with Leonardo Bonucci, making his 400th start for the club, producing an early block to thwart Vedat Muriqi.

But it was again Ronaldo who proved decisive as he finished off a Juan Cuadrado cross after the Colombia attacker shook off defenders Luis Alberto and Mohamed Fares.

The 35-year-old scored his sixth goal in four league games.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic sent a header wide for the hosts with Joaquin Correa also testing Wojciech Szczesny.

Ronaldo had two further chances for a second in the first half, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar. The Lazio keeper also denied Adrien Rabiot just before the hour mark.

But with Pirlo's side looking in control, Ronaldo went off with 15 minutes to go after taking a knock to his right ankle, and his absence once again hit the champions.

Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word.

He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.

"Ronaldo is a crucial player," said Pirlo.

"They are the ones who make you win games. When you want to take it home you have to give something more, and today we couldn't do it."