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  21/02/2013: Match Report: Lazio - Borussia Mönchengladbach
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Lazio: Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Cana, Radu; Ledesma; Candreva (82’ Pereirinha), Gonzalez (69´ Onazi), Hernanes, Lulic; Floccari (79’ Kozak).

Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen, Stranzl, Dominguez, Jantschke, Wendt; Cigerci (69’ Hanke), Nordtveit, Marx (79’ Xhaka), Arango (52’ Younes); Herrmann, De Jong.

In a far more controlled match between two sides that fought a stormy and entertaining game one week ago Lazio snapped off Borussia Mönchengladbach as early as after 33 minutes. The stability at the back and in the midfield reminded of displays before Christmas and the attack was efficient, while the Germans made it easy for Lazio to get the game the way they wanted.

Before looking closer at the proceedings in the first win for Lazio since what seems like forever, a short comment on the crowd at the Olimpico. The Germans showed up in impressive numbers, while the Lazio Curva was well filled. Between there was mostly empty seats though, a discouraging scene now that Lazio had a game in European competition against decent opposition. The two ends held the atmosphere on top and through the game both teams must have felt good support.

Looking at the starting formation of Lazio, Petkovic did not opt for any drastic changes, but rather reverted back to the tactics that had brought wins through the season. At the back Cana started ahead of Ciani and had a mostly stable game, while all other position were occupied by the usual suspects in what is usually called 4-1-4-1. This was met by Fevre’s 4-4-2, where the visitors was hoping to get that one goal advantage needed to get through to the next round and face another German team in Stuttgart.

Much of the nerve of the game, rightfully built up after the penalty-kick madness in the first leg and the 3-3 result brought on to this encounter, was gone at 10 minutes though. Candreva stole the ball from a fumbling Dominguez and one on one with ter Stegen the Italian international made no mistake as he opened the scoring.

With Lazio in the lead and Gladbach chasing, Petkovic instructed his players to not fall too far back and to keep the pressure on their midfield high. Neither of teams created anything dangerous for the rest of the half, apart from the chance that put an end to the game. Radu fired a shot from outside the area, a shot that ter Stegen saved before having to capitalise as Tata Gonzalez slotted 2-0 home.

Lazio dominated the game the way everyone was hoping after the depressing run in Serie A, with the 3-0 thumping at Siena as the darkest of moments in the run without wins. The remainder of the first, as well as most of the second half, Lazio did carry out a well organised game and never allowed the green-white visitors into the game. They did have more of the possession, but never threatened Marchetti with a clear cut chance.

“Biancocelesti totalmente padroni del campo” said my commentator with 20 minutes left of the game, a sentence that concludes the game well. Lazio never allowed this to become a threat in any way and for once in a long time a fan could lean back and watch the game comfortably. The most impressive part of this game, in the end, was clearly the presence of the away fans and the way the home team answered the travelling supporters.

In the end Petkovic chose to give Tata, Floccari and Candreva some rest, while Onazi, Kozak and Pereirinha received some time on the pitch. In four days Pescara visit Stadio Olimpico and advancing in Europa League should help the players find motivation and hunger to get back to winning ways in the league.
Author: Khashayar Kashefi
 
 
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