Lazio finished off the final round of the Europa League group stage with a walk in the park. In the away game in Maribor there was only one team on the pitch and before the hosts had their first real chance Lazio had already killed the game.
Petkovic fielded the normally sidelined players; all but Hernanes are to be seen as reserves. Despite the lack of game time together and the lack of trust shown by the coach the players had a field day against Maribor.
1-0 came after 16’ through Kozak. The player that should have sent Lazio through and guaranteed to end first in the group two weeks ago finished off a nice Ederson pass by chipping Handanovic.
Only three minutes later the lead should have been doubled when Floccari beautifully slotted home a goal, but the goal was wrongfully disallowed for offside. At 32’ the second goal came anyhow, Radu got his first of the season on a corner and at this point the game was more or less finished.
Six minutes after that Floccari got his first goal of the evening and Ederson his second assist. The Brazilian set up the soon to be sold attacker, who beat Handanovic with a nice and cool finish.
3-0 was a fact and it took all the way to the 45’ and 46’ before Maribor threatened Bizzarri. On both occasions the home team could have gotten a goal back and stopped the humiliation, but both Tavares and Filipovic failed to convert their chances.
In the second half the Lazio show continued early on. At 51’ Floccari doubled his tally with the nicest goal of the evening, where he dribbled through the Maribor half and killed his own attack with a classy strike.
The rest of the half could have seen Lazio score even more goals, but Kozak, Floccari, Ederson, Hernanes and Lulic all missed good chances. In the end Maribor got one goal back and managed to get a slightly better result than 1999 when Sven-Göran Eriksson’s Lazio beat the Slovenians 4-1.
The Biancocelesti tops Group J and will be looking forward to the knock-out phase of the tournament that resumes in February. The opposition will be drawn shortly and the team, as well as all the fans, will know for where to book the tickets comes 2013.