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  08/01/2013: Coppa Italia: Lazio 3-0 Catania
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Lazio have sealed their spot in the Coppa Italia semi-final with an emphatic victory over Catania. The Roman side were in control all night long as Catania failed to show any of the spark that antagonised Lazio in the Serie A campaign.

Much of Lazio's success can be attributed to a change in tactic that worked beautifully. Petkovic opted for a 3-5-1-1 system with Floccari as the lone forward, Candreva as trequartista and Lorik Cana inserted into the backline in what could be described as a 'Bielsafication' of the defence.

Nevertheless, Mariano Izco threatened to thwart the tactic before it could even take shape with a superb long-range effort but Lazio were in cruise control during the first half. Ledesma and Gonzalez dictated the play while Candreva was full of beans. Floccari worked harder than hard and although errors were evidently in Hernanes and Lulic's game, you could hardly say their opening half was a disaster either. 

However, it was an unlikely hero that opened the scoring for the home side. Antonio Candreva's corner was inch perfect for Stefan Radu's head, as he glanced it beyond Catania stopper Alberto Frisson, and into the bottom left-hand corner of the Catania goal. That marks his second goal this season and his second in five years at Lazio.

Floccari had a good chance to double the scoreline with a volley later in the first half but it was dealt with by Frison before Bergessio gave Lazio another scare as the half drew to a close but his shot was off target. Despite dominating, Lazio were not showing their dominance in front of goal but they had the advantage and could go into the break with confidence.

Yet it was Catania who emerged the better side in the second half creating a number of chances but none more worrying than Bergessio's latest effort as he was left with a free shot on goal following Lulic's failure to win a duel further up the field.

This was merely a blip though. Lazio took control of the game again and soon after, it was 2-0. Sergio Floccari's hard work finally paid off as he found space down the left-hand side of the penalty area and screwed the ball back for Hernanes who had cleverly dropped off from the defenders. His finish was far from impressive, but it was enough to ease agonisingly past Frison for the second time this evening.

There was not much to get excited about in the final third of the game as Petkovic introduced substitutes that showed his willingness to secure the victory. Konko came on for Candreva who seems to have returned to full fitness before Christian Brocchi and Michael Ciani were introduced to freshen up the defence as Radu and Cavanda made way.

There was still time for one more. Again, Floccari was the creator, running rings around the Catania defenders on the edge of the penalty area before playing an astute pass to the feet of Hernanes who showed some fancy footwork before firing past Frison for a brace. Frison's agony was to be the source of Lazio's 'frisson' tonight and with a semi-final to look forward to later in the month, Petkovic and the boys can push on through Serie A with confidence.


Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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