April 12, 2018 / 11:48 PM / 7 days ago

Soccer: Salzburg performed small miracle against Lazio, says captain Walke

VIENNA (Reuters) - Salzburg captain Alexander Walke described their triumph over Lazio as a ‘small miracle’ after they scored three times in five minutes to beat the Italians 6-5 on aggregate and reach the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg - RB Salzburg v Lazio - Red Bull Arena, Salzburg, Austria - April 12, 2018 RB Salzburg's Stefan Lainer in action REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

All hope looked lost when Ciro Immobile’s clinical finish put Lazio 1-0 ahead on the night and 5-2 in front on aggregate 10 minutes into the second half and the visitors still looked comfortable with 19 minutes remaining and the score at 1-1.

But Amadou Haidara, Hee Chan-hwang and Stefan Lainer all scored in a remarkable period of play to secure a 4-1 win and kick-start an Alpine party as Salzburg became the first Austrian club to reach the last four in European competition since 1996.

“It’s a small miracle to come back from behind, which is unbelievable what the team did today, we had a dream day,” keeper Walke said. “It was about mentality, will and courage.”

Salzburg coach Marco Rose said he was proud of his players and now wanted Premier League Arsenal in the semi-finals.

“It was a great footballing night, for me and for the guys, I’m really proud of the team because we believed in it and we worked that success together,” he said.

Lainer, whose back post header completed an extraordinary recovery, said it had been a sensational night.

“It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, winning 4-1 against such a team,” he said. “I think that just describes the whole season, that we never give up, that we always stay positive.”

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said his side had suffered a “blackout” after being in control.

“In Europe nobody gives you anything, and Salzburg have deserved the qualification,” he said.

“We had the qualification in our hands. The difference is that they made five shots on goal and scored four goals, we had the same shots on goal but (scored) only one goal.”

Lazio must pick themselves up quickly for a derby against local rivals Roma at the weekend as they try to qualify for next year’s Champions League with a top-four finish in Serie A.

“On Sunday we have a great chance to get up and start again,” Inzaghi said, with Lazio and Roma locked on 60 points in third and fourth respectively, one point ahead of Inter Milan.

Soccer Football - Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg - RB Salzburg v Lazio - Red Bull Arena, Salzburg, Austria - April 12, 2018 Lazio's Lucas Leiva in action with RB Salzburg's Stefan Lainer and Amadou Haidara REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris

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