Friday Jun 23, 2017  
     
 
  24/07/2014: Auronzo di Cadore: Day 13
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S.S. Lazio would be welcoming Bari on day 13, and the morning session was dedicated to tactical preparations for the game. Training started that bit earlier and Pioli instantly divided his teams into two groups, which for the first time ever, resembled a first choice line-up and a second string line-up. The teams were as follows:

Marchetti; Basta, Cana, Ciani, Radu; Cataldi, Ledesma, Mauri; Felipe Anderson, Djordjevic, Keita.

Strakosha; Konko, Novaretti, Filippini, Braafheid; Minala, Antic, Elez, Vinicius, Pereirinha, Tounkara, Oikonomidis.

Rozzi and Berisha miss the morning session through injury while Cavanda and Alfaro remain sidelined from the group. Antic returns.

The session begins with exercises revolving around the construction of attacks and ends with Pioli and his assistant Murelli coaching the two teams on dead ball situations. Pioli lets the boys off training early, in light of the evening game, which is scheduled to have an additional extra time period as both Lazio and Bari want to test their fitness levels.

Lazio v Bari kicks off at 5pm and Pioli fields the first choice eleven. The opening period is quite tentative, but Lazio eventually open the scoring 25 minutes in when Djordjevic capitalises on a goalkeeping error and finishes with finesse. Lazio have a good chance to double their lead minutes later when Mauri is upended in the box, but Ledesma misses from the spot. Seconds later, Bari equalise. 1-1.

Pioli persists with his starting eleven in the second half and is immediately awarded. Another goalkeeping error and another goal for Djordjevic. 2-1.

On the 65th minute, Pioli makes eleven substitutes drawing on the second team he used in the morning session. The only player who does not feature is Minala, as Antic is preferred. The game loses its momentum and chances are now limited to set-pieces, with Bari finding an equaliser from a free-kick. Not the way Pioli wanted to concede given his extensive work on defending set-pieces in pre-season so far.

At the beginning of the 30-minute extra time period, Pioli makes three more changes. Minala and Cavanda come on for Antic and Oikonomidis respectively, while Marchetti passes the gloves on to Strakosha. Chances are few and far between in the final period, but another mistake at the back gifts Tounkara the winner and Lazio exit 3-2 winners.

Despite the scoreline, Lazio struggled to break down opponents once again, but Pioli can take heart in the alertness of his strikers who were there to pounce and the players can take heart in keeping the 100% record against a more difficult opponent. The real downer is the loss of Djordjevic to injury. The Serbian forward has damaged his knee and will require a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

In the evening, as the Astori saga demands the attention of the Lazio hierarchy, one of the old guard returns to say hello; Edy Reja. The ex-Lazio manager has made the short trip from his home in Gorizia to spend some time with the Lazio squad.
Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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