Sunday Mar 26, 2017  
     
 
  02/08/2014: Sporting CP 2-2 Lazio (Sporting win 4-2 on penalties)
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Keita Balde Diao and Mamadou Tounkara's missed spot-kicks were the only difference between Sporting Club de Portugal and S.S. Lazio after an enjoyable 2014 edition of the Troféu Cinco Violinos

The competition - now in its third year - has seen Olympiakos and Fiorentina succumb to defeat in Lisbon and Lazio suffered the same fate, although the effort of Stefano Pioli's side was valiant.

Lazio are not as far ahead as Sporting in their preparations for the new season, and it showed as Sporting were far sharper on the night, although Lazio had the better chances.

It was the Portuguese side who opened the scoring, doing so withing five minutes. Keita Balde Diao was dispossessed in attack and a swift counter-attack had Lazio at sixes and sevens as neither Novaretti or Ledesma tracked the run of André Martins who finished coolly under pressure from Radu.

Lazio got themselves back into the game at the end of the first half as a wicked corner delivery from Cristian Ledesma and the head of Novaretti made amends for their previous mistake although they needed a deflection from Keita, the post, and Stefano Mauri to get the ball home. Mauri had an impressive game in the 'false nine' role but he could take very little credit for his goal.

Lazio started the second half poorly, conceding early once again in the poorest of fashions. Having had a previous warning when Cana made a mess of things in his own penalty box, Marchetti decided to do his best impression of the Albanian and had to bring down the opposition's man to prevent an almost certain goal. It didn't matter though as Adrien Silva sent Marchetti the wrong way with his penalty.

Keen to give his favoured eleven a chance to redeem themselves, Pioli kept faith in the starting line-up until the 70th minute when he introduced Braafheid for Radu, Ciani for Cana and Konko for Basta. As you might expect, the defensive switches had little impact on Lazio's offensive game and the final throw of the dice game five minutes from time when Mamadou Tounkara was sent on for Mauri.

Tounkara only needed a few minutes to make his presence felt. A quick breakaway from Felipe Anderson had Sporting in all sorts of trouble and an exquisitely weighted pass had Tounkara bearing down on Rui Patricio. The Spanish striker did not panic and made Rui Patricio wait before coolly rounding him and finishing smartly from a difficult angle. The Spanish striker, along with his compatriot Keita, had less luck in the shootout, handing the Troféu Cinco Violinos to Sporting for the third year running.

Lazio's performance was far from impressive, but Pioli's players created numerous good opportunities against a side who perhaps should have had the measure of us. The squad now move on to Germany with Hamburg and Hannover to come next week.

Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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