Thursday Jun 29, 2017  
     
 
  28/09/2015: Report: Verona 1-2 Lazio
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They made life difficult for themselves but in the end, Lazio defeated Verona 2-1 and came away from Verona with three points as Lucas Biglia scored a penalty before turning provider for Marco Parolo on a late free-kick.

Lazio's performance was still some way short from the heights of last season, but we should recognise that in a season with additional commitments, it will be nigh on impossible to turn in such displays. The first 20-25 minutes were very encouraging as we boxed Verona in on their own half and applied serious pressure to their backline. Our attack looked to have confidence in abundance and our defence had fewer opportunities to implode than in recent games. Lazio only needed a few minutes to put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal - a ricochet from a Ricardo Kishna corner - was ruled out for reasons which are not entirely clear. Anderson had a very valid penalty shout not long after when Filip Helander hauled him down as he looked to get through on goal. It could very easily have been 2-0 Lazio in a matter of minutes and Verona could have been down to ten, but the decisions would have been harsh on the home side.

As the half wore on, you could see Verona were becoming immune to Lazio's attack and they grew in confidence. The first real spell out of their own half ended in a goal. A free-kick from a wide area evaded the Lazio backline and an unmarked Juan Taleb had only Marchetti to beat. Fortunately for Lazio, he found the crossbar but unfortunately for Lazio, Helander was right behind him to poke it over the line for a one-goal advantage. Filip Djordjevic had a golden opportunity to equalise before the half-time whistle, but instead of applying the simple finish past Rafael, he went for a more spectacular finish with the outside of his boot and was left red-faced.

Lazio continued to dominate in the second half, but they didn't possess any real threat to the Verona backline until substitutions were made. Ricardo Kishna and Filip Djordjevic were sacrificed for Stefano Mauri and Keita Balde Diao, and it took the Senegalese forward seconds to make his mark on the game. Keita burst into the penalty area and went to ground following slight contact from Jacopo Sala. This time, it was enough to make the referee point to the spot and Lucas Biglia made no mistake with the penalty. 1-1, and there looked to be only one winner from here.

Lazio pushed and pushed and pushed forward and Verona were resigned to the counter. The opposition constantly looked to expose Dusan Basta's flank and put some pressure on Mauricio who had already been booked. We got away with it for a while, but then Pawel Wszolek beat Mauricio for pace and the Brazilian inevitably hauled the Verona winger to the ground to receive the almost inevitable red card. It was a rash and unavoidable challenge, but not intervening would have left Wszolek one-on-one with Marchetti as Santiago Gentiletti had given up the chase knowing he would not get in a position to make a difference. Not sure Mauricio made a conscious choice in this instance, but it was a choice that needed to be made.

Despite being down to 10, Lazio continued to venture forward in search of a winner and they got their just reward with five minutes to go. Biglia's long ball to Mauri was intercepted but not cleared out of danger, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic picked up the loose ball as he so often does and won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Biglia and Parolo stood over it and the Argentine laid it into the path of Parolo who rifled his shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Rafael's net. 2-1 and game over for Verona.

This was the result Lazio needed to kickstart their season, but it will be in vain unless Lazio actually kickstart their season with wins at home against Saint-Etienne and Frosinone. There were large celebrations at the end of the game as the team were clearly relieved and delighted in equal measure to win an away game, but the performance was not much of an improvement on Genoa and that has to be kept in mind. Lazio still look very insecure at the back and both goals came as a result of set-plays rather than well-fashioned and well-taken chances. Verona, who were never really in the game, could've won were it not for Mauricio's antics.

Still, onwards and upwards. Forza Lazio!

Player Ratings: Marchetti (6.5); Basta (6.0), Mauricio (5.0), Gentiletti (5.5), Lulic (7.0); Parolo (6.5), Biglia (7.0); Felipe Anderson (6.5), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (6.5), Kishna (6.0); Djordjevic (6.0). Subs: Keita Balde Diao (7.0), Mauri (6.0), Hoedt (n/a).
Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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