Lazio managed a draw away to who are on paper the toughest opposition in Group J of the Europa League. Despite getting three balls behind Marchetti, all ruled out, and a constant pressure from the Englishmen Lazio managed to hold 0-0 and Petkovic continues his rule as unbeaten.
The presence of the Lazio supporters, probably the most impressive feature of the visiting team this evening, was heard all through the 90 minutes and despite only being 2000 out of the 36000 seated at White Hart Lane the Laziali dominated the stands through the game. On the pitch things were unfolding differently though and for the first time this season we got to see how Lazio work when under pressure for longer periods.
As is customary for home teams, Tottenham attacked and pushed Lazio to defend from deep positions. Apart from a few attempts at counters and managing to lift the team up towards the end of the two halves Lazio got the chance to show how the defensive game can cope against quality opposition. Lulic and Cavanda, occupying the left and right back respectively, had a busy night against Bale, Defoe and Lennon. Dias and Biava managed to keep god cover though, while Marchetti again kept a clean sheet despite the Lilywhites testing the goalie with a few decent attempts.
The best chance of the game was Lazio’s though. Gonzalez, again impressing in midfield with his tireless runs and energetic performance, smashed the ball against Loris’s cross bar three minutes from half time. Prior to that Tottenham had managed to find the back of the net, but Dempsey’s header was rightfully disallowed as the American was caught offside. Marchetti also saved attempts from Bale and Defoe in the first half and on the other side Klose was isolated most of the game, but did create a few half hearted attempts at the Tottenham goal.
The Lazio midfield, today consisting of Ledesma, Hernanes, Gonzalez, Mauri and youngster Onazi who was chosen when Candreva caught the fever before kickoff, spent most of their time defending and trying to let the back line not become overwhelmed with work. Through the sides Tottenham continued to attack and if there was any weak points in Lazio this night Villas Boas had found them, but in the end the visitors managed to keep the ball outside the penalty area.
Numerous set pieces were given to the home team through the game by the referee, but Lazio managed to defend well against swinging crosses as well as attempts straight at goal. Also in the second half Marchetti had to pick the ball out of his net, twice, but both times the goals were not counted. One was ruled offside, while the last real danger against the Lazio goal, a header by Caulker who did beat Marchetti but the game had been stopped because of a foul as the defender climbed on Mauri to get to the ball.
Managing a draw away to one of the strongest teams of the tournament on paper must be seen as a success, despite some Lazio faithful sensing a step back in terms of creativity and attacking-mindedness in the game. However, going to White Hart Lane and dominate the game is something very few teams can manage and with the 0-0 result Lazio have gotten off to a good start in this year’s edition of the UEFA Europa League.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Dembele (90’ Mason), Lennon (81’ Townsend), Dempsey (76’ Sigurdsson), Bale, Defoe.
Lazio: Marchetti, Cavanda, Biava, Dias, Lulic, Ledesma, Hernanes (90’ Ciani), Onazi (81’ Onazi), Gonzalez, Mauri (90’ Ederson), Klose.
Picture gallery : http://lazioland.com/GallerySub.htm?AlbumId=537