Day twelve of the ritiro in Auronzo di Cadore started with a morning session, preparing and focusing on the afternoon game that was on hands. Together with Biava it was rumoured that also Ederson had been brought back to Rome in order to examine the injury reported by Lazioland.com some days ago.
The discussions outside the pitch focused on Stendardo’s potential move to Atalanta, Xandao arriving as replacement and that Guidetti now had Galatasaray asking for his services. In other words, very little was new and it was towards 17.30 local time people were looking forward.
Petkovic fielded a 4-4-2 in his second preparatory match in Auronzo di Cadore, this time against a team named Top 11 Cadore. The opposition is of minor importance at this point and just like against Auronzo the main point was to test players out on the pitch: Berardi, Candreva, Diakite, Stendardo, Zauri, Candreva, Ledesma, Gonzalez, Mauri, Floccari, Alfaro started for Lazio this afternoon.
The defence in the first 45 minutes had very little to do and Berardi in goal barely got to touch the ball. Cavanda, Diakite, Stendardo and Zauri had more of an impact going forward than they had keeping an eye at the back and only after three minutes Candreva opened the scoring on a Cavanda pass.
In the 9th minute Candreva got a second goal to his name, as he managed to slot home the rebound to a double attempt by Floccari. The loyal attacker tried to get a goal to his name on numerous attempts, but was unlucky and saw himself denied on multiple occasions.
Ten minutes after the first assist, Cavanda got a second to his name as he found Alfaro inside the box. The Uruguayan made no mistake and headed home 3-0.
Sergio Floccari, who has been linked to moves away from the club all summer, finally got a goal to his name when he scored 4-0 on a Ledesma corner after half an hour of play. He then doubled his tally at 40’ with a well placed shot, to make it 5-0 at half time.
With only one substitution ahead of second half, Berardi being replaced by Carrizo, the game continued to be a one way show. Seven minutes in Alfaro also got his second goal of the evening as he headed home a Candreva corner.
Mauri, who had looked lost and very indifferent out on the left of the midfield, sent a well placed cross only three minutes later and Candreva volleyed home 7-0 from close range. Petkovic had ordered the two midfielders to swap sides, a move that paid off straight away.
60 minutes into the game the expected mass substitution took place. Mauri handed the skipper armband to Dias and also Hernanes, Garrido, Kozak, Zarate, Lulic, Rozzi, Konko, Onazi and Cana were brought on. Worth noting is that Cana partnered Dias in the absence of Biava, while Onazi and Hernanes took care of the centre of the midfield.
There is no doubt Zarate has been welcomed back to Lazio with open arms and the Argentinean brought down the largest of applause so far this evening as he dribbled past three players inside the penalty area, before trying to chip the goalkeeper. A defender got the better of the attempt at the end, but the intention was good and the fantasy is needed in Lazio.
The first goal for the second line up came from Hernanes’ head, as the Brazilian met a perfect cross by Lulic from the left and left Tamburini with no chance of parrying Lazio’s 8-0. With only 18 minutes left the most interesting question was if Lazio could be the score line of 14-0 that was recorded against Auronzo.
In 74’ Zarate got his name scribbled down as well, as a solo effort from outside the penalty area ended in a nicely taken shot at the right side of the goalie. 9-0 and Lazio were looking for double figures. Only five minutes later Zarate got exactly that, with a replica of his first goal, apart from placing the shot to the keeper’s left hand side rather than right.
11-0 came from a wasteful Kozak, who at the end was served by Rozzi and had nothing but an open goal in front of him, ending the scoring this time around.
It is hard to draw any conclusions from games of this sort for us watching on the sides, but there is no doubt that Zarate is looking more impressive than ever and that the fans are loving this fact, Hernanes looked more interested now when neither Ederson nor Ledesma were on the pitch to take the ball from him, Onazi looks mature despite his young age and Candreva again got his name on the score sheet more than once and looked more motivated than any other player today. (Khashayar Kashefi)
Man of the match: Antonio Candreva
Hattrick for the midfielder, and a fine assist on Alfaro's second goal.
Flop of the match: Stefano Mauri
Stefano is still not in top form. His passing was off and his physical condition is still not 100% after his long-term injury.
Honourable mention: Ogenyi Onazi
The young Nigerian has struggled with injuries after the players went to Auronzo di Cadore. Today he came on in the second half and played together with Hernanes in the midfield. Looked very secure with the ball, but struggled with his passing.