Monday Sep 25, 2017  
     
 
  21/02/2014: Review: Lazio - Ludogorets
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Lazio (3-4-3): Berisha; Cavanda (sent off 73'), Ciani, Cana, Radu; Onazi, Biglia, Lulic (Kakuta 68'); Anderson (Candreva 58'), Klose (Perea 78'), Keita

Ludogorets (4-2-3-1): Stoyanov; Caicara, Mantyla, Moti, Minev; Zlatinski, Dyakov (sent off 54'); Alexandrov, Marcelinho (Quixada 89'), Misidjan (Lumu 81'), Bezjak (Espinho 60')

This was Lazio's second loss in only 5 days time. This time it was Ludogorets Razgrad who won at the Olimpico. It was Lazio's first loss in ten home games in Europa League. 

Before the game Edoardo Reja was confident that his team can win this game and travel to Bulgarian for the second leg with a comfortable two goal advantage but nothing like this happened last night. 

The Bulgarian champions looked quite comfortable at the Olimpico and you can't blame them for that - the stadium was empty and the only fans you can hear were the 700 Bulgarians who traveled all the way to Rome just to keep their European dream alive. 

The started badly for Lazio and only after 8 minutes Ludogorets were awarded a penalty. Luckily for Berisha and his team mates Ludogorets' captaion Dyakov tried a tricky shot and missed the penalty. 

You would expect that this should have given Lazio more energy and power to start attacking and look for an opening goal which will make the game for their guests even harder but nothing like this was seen on the pitch. 

The Bulgarian champions kept on playing good and until the end of the first half they hit the cross bar from a great shot by Marcelinho and has a couple of more good scoring chances thanks to shots from Alexandrov and Zlatinski. 

Lazio's only good scoring chance in the first 45 minutes was a Biglia free kick which was saved by Stoyanov. Just before the end of the first half Ludogorets managed to score a screamer out of the box by their striker Bezjak who caught Berisha napping. 

Edy Reja had to do a lot of work at half time to make his men start playing better and try to turn around the game in their favor. The second half started better for Lazio and the team was awarded a penalty but Felipe Anderson missed it and soon after that he was changed so that his bad game could come to an end. 

Before being changed Anderson had another chance to score a great goal just outside of the box but Ludogorets' keeper Stoyanov was on the right place to save it. 

Soon after the missed penalty the Bulgarians' captain Dyakov was sent off for a second yellow card which gave Lazio another chance to keep on attacking and try to turn the game in their favor.

Candreva and new signing Kakuta were Reja's hope to change something in his teams attack but Stoyanov was just brilliant and never looked like someone can beat him. 

After the red card the Bulgarians tried to play on counter attacks and concentrate more on their defense. Lazio were the better team in the second half and missed some great scoring chances due to great saves from Stoyanov or not enough concentration in the players. 

15 minutes before the end of the game Cavanda was sent off for a karate style kick against Minev and that looked like the last straw which demotivated the players even more and in the last minutes of the game only a couple of shots from Candreva make Stoyanov the man of the match and secured his team a historical moment with their first win against Lazio. 

A well deserved victory for the Bulgarians. Ludogorets showed Lazio and everyone from Europe that they are no pushovers and will fight for a win against any opponent. 
Author: Martin Meranzov
 
 
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