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Manolo Gabbiadini goal keeps Napoli-Lazio semi-final in the balance

Napoli`s Manolo Gabbiadini netted a precious second-half equaliser to earn a 1-1 away draw at Lazio in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Manolo Gabbiadini goal keeps Napoli-Lazio semi-final in the balance

Rome: Napoli`s Manolo Gabbiadini netted a precious second-half equaliser to earn a 1-1 away draw at Lazio in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

It was the 23-year-old`s fourth goal in all competitions since joining Napoli in the January transfer window and cancelled out Miroslav Klose`s first-half strike for Lazio. 

"This goal is very important," Gabbiadini, who scored nine with Sampdoria in the first part of the season, told Rai television. "It allows us to come away with a draw, a golden draw."

Lazio took a well-deserved lead in the 33rd minute of an entertaining first half when Felipe Anderson`s superb run set up Klose, who side-footed home from inside the box past a diving Mariano Andujar.

The German striker, who had almost put Lazio ahead in the ninth minute when his close-range header grazed the near post, came close to doubling his tally at the end of the first half when his close-range shot was parried by Carrizo.

Anderson wasted the follow-up when his effort, which should have been a tap-in, was cleared by Miguel Britos, just before crossing the line.

"We wasted too many chances in the first half," Lazio manager Stefano Pioli said. 

"This result favours them (Napoli) but it isn`t over yet. We`ll have to score in Naples."

Holders Napoli started the second half with a different mindset and after David Lopez`s header clipped the crossbar, Gabbiadini levelled the score in the 58th minute.

Dries Mertens` throughball allowed Gonzalo Higuain to go around Etrit Berisha and cross for Gabbiadini, who was unmarked in front of goal.

"We redeemed ourselves after Sunday`s loss to Torino," Napoli coach Rafa Benitez said. 

"Lazio attacked for most of the first half, even though we had a few chances, while in the second we showed energy and intensity. It was a fast-paced match, similar to a Premier League one."

Lazio, who are fourth in Serie A, are vying with third-placed Napoli for a spot in next season`s Champions League.

The return leg is on April 8.

Juventus host Fiorentina in the other semi-final on Thursday (1945 GMT). 

From Zee News

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