Football: Bologna earn 'miracle' Serie A survival in six-goal Lazio thriller

Bologna players celebrate after scoring their side's first goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on May 20, 2019.
Bologna players celebrate after scoring their side's first goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on May 20, 2019.PHOTO: DPA

ROME (AFP) - Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic hailed his team for pulling off a "miracle" to secure their top flight survival with a 3-3 draw at Lazio on Monday (May 20) enough to keep the northerners in Serie A next season.

It was a vital point for Bologna who have been transformed since the arrival of Serbian coach Mihajlovic in place of Filippo Inzaghi, brother of Lazio coach Simone, last February.

"Nobody, or at least very few believed in us staying up a few months ago," said Serb Mihajlovic, a former Yugoslavia international player.

"I was one of the few. The more that time went by, the more convinced I was that we were on the right road but it was still something of a small miracle." The club were 18th with just two wins from 21 games when the former Serbia, AC Milan and Torino coach arrived, but since have won eight matches out of 16 and are now positioned 12th.

"Now, we're aiming to pull off a real masterstroke on Saturday (against Napoli) to finish tenth," he added.

Lazio are already through to next season's Europa League after their Coppa Italia win over Atalanta last Wednesday in Rome, and have nothing left to play for as they sit eighth.

But Simone Inzaghi's side had taken the lead after 13 minutes through Joaquin Correa, who also scored in their Coppa Italia victory in the Stadio Olimpico.

Andrea Poli pulled Bologna level five minutes after the break with Mattia Destro firing in from close range two minutes later.

A Bastos curling got Lazio back in the game five minutes later with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic again proving decisive off the bench as in the Coppa final, grabbing a point with a curling free kick over the wall ten minutes from time.

Bologna are four points ahead of Genoa who occupy the final relegation place with one game left this season.

Chievo and Frosinone are already condemned to Serie B next season with four teams still under threat - Genoa, Empoli, Udinese and Fiorentina.

Lazio are eighth and the best they can finish is seventh, with their final game against Torino.