Just when it looked like Inter had blown it Saturday, Lazio buckled under the pressure of clinching the fourth and final Italian place in next season’s Champions League group stage when they were held to a 2-2 draw at relegation-threatened Crotone on Sunday.
The result handed a lifeline to Inter, who appeared to have blown their chances of qualifying when they lost 2-1 at home to Sassuolo on Saturday but can now breathe again.
Going into the last match of the season, Inter trail Lazio by three points. But a win for Inter in Rome next weekend will lift them into fourth place on their head-to-head record. And into next season’s Champions League group stages and the tens of million of euros that would bring.
Lazio are panicking in front of our eyes. Lazio chief Igli Tare is in a tither over reports that Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij is heading to Inter next season. .
The defender, off contract in June, is set to join Inter this summer. However, Tare insists nothing formal has been settled.
The Albanian snapped after Saturday’s draw: “There is no story … Someone wanted to play dirty saying that we deposited De Vrij’s contract to disturb Lazio and the answer was made last night.
“We will not question his behavior and his attachment to this shirt. He knows what he got from this team.
“Giving a story like this 10 days before the end of the championship, before a direct fight, you could give a month ago or at the end of the championship.”
That is not what Inter director Piero Ausilio says as he admitted over the weekend that Stefan de Vrij had signed for the Nerazzurri.
“I don’t understand why people are acting as if De Vrij is a scoop or an exclusive. Everyone knows where De Vrij will be playing next season.
“We always respected him, Lazio and our own players. He never held back in any other game for Lazio and will continue to play like this, as he is a professional, just as we are professional and so are Lazio.”
Tensions are simmering between the clubs ahead of a match that will be worth tens of millions of euros for the winners.