Sunday Aug 20, 2017  
     
 
  23/08/2012: Europa League Qualification: Mura 05 - Lazio 0-2 (0-1)
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Mura 05: Drakovic, Kramar (63’ Sres), Travner, janza, Horvat, Buseti, Vas, Marusko, Bohar (86’ Majer), Fajic, Eterovic (78’ Kouter).

Lazio: Marchetti, Konko,Biava, Dias, Cavanda, Onazi, Ledesma, Hernanes (60’ Lulic), Candreva, Klose 82’ Floccari), Mauri (71’ Zarate).  

Finally it is on. The 2012/2013 kicked off in Slovenia and with a comfortable 2-0 win Lazio got the start calculated for and needed ahead of the Serie A opener this Sunday. Goals by Hernanes and Klose made sure the Italians will sleep well tonight. Not because things looked particularly convincing, but because not much more could have been asked at this point.

Petkovic’s 45 first minutes in charge of Lazio did not unfold as well as the tactician could have hoped for, but after the impressions made during the friendly game through the summer this was a step in the right direction. Lazio did miss passes and looked overly stressed to get the game going, Ledesma wasting attempts from quite far back as he was a little too quick to send the ball forward being one example. At times the players were caught out of position in defense too; luckily the opposition could not pose any greater danger at Marchetti.

 The 4-3-3 formation, very often transformed into 4-2-3-1 as well as 4-1-4-1 later on in the game, paid off 30 minutes in as Hernanes sent a stunner that left Drakovic chanceless. Through the half Lazio dominated the game, but apart from the goal mainly half attempts and missed final touches gave this half its identity.  The remaining quarter of an hour after taking the lead did see a Lazio wanting to hold on to the ball and a Mura 05 that never really stood a chance this evening.

The second half was a brighter story for the travelling fans and the team, as Lazio became more balanced. Ledesma became the engine he has been assigned to be from  the bottom of midfield and Hernanes became a little more of the link that he is expected to be from further up the pitch. Against the bottom placed Slovenian team not too large conclusions should be drawn, but Petkovic must be having a good feeling knowing his team responded to instructions given in the locker room.

Onazi showed he can hold a midfield at least at this level and Mauri looked to be in better shape now than a week ago against Malmö FF and Klose doubled the scoring for Lazio. Candreva did well out on the left against weak opposition, but it is still hard to see where he would stand against quality sides  in the league as well as out in Europe.

A nice ball sent out to the right was beautifully hit by Konko and the German securely headed home the game for Lazio with 30 minutes left. After returning later than the rest of the team due to the EUROs in the summer very little of Klose has been seen, but in the second half he looked more engaged and energetic than in the first half – just as the rest of Lazio, despite not impressing too much through the 90 minutes.

Petkovic used all three of his subs this night, with Lulic, Zarate and finally Floccari entering the pitch for Hernanes, Mauri and Klose respectively. For the latter two that was more official time in the Lazio shirt than during the previous season, indicating a stay at the club for the duo despite reports of the two of them being wanted by other clubs.  Towards the end of the game the lead could have been extended through Zarate and Candreva, with the latter being the disappointment of the game after a nice summer with the team.

The return of this tie will be played in Rome in a week, but between that Lazio will travel to Bergamo and face Atalanta. A guaranteed tougher opposition will test the team and give the chance for the supporters to further evaluate what to expect for this season.

(Khashayar Kashefi)

Picture gallery : http://lazioland.com/GallerySub.htm?AlbumId=529


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