Lazio: Marchetti, Scaloni, Biava, Dias, Radu, Brocchi (62' Matuzalem), Ledesma, Mauri (71' Lulic), Hernanes, Cissè (85' Rocchi), Klose.
Rabotnicki: Dimitrievski, Todorovski, Velkoski, Micevski, Petrovic, Muarem, Najdoski, Lazarevski.
Before getting into details, it must be said that the best player in the opposing team, FK Rabotnicki, this evening was their young goalkeeper Dimitrievski. Without the talented shot-stopper the guests would have returned back to Skopje with an even more humiliating defeat.
Writing a report after such a convincing win is hard; what should one focus on bringing up? Despite the convincing win however, the team initially looked insecure and yet to reach match form. If it was not for a superb Mauri, and an inspiring Brocchi, the home team this evening would have had problems breaking the wall that the visitors had decided to set up in their own half. Defending with eleven players showed to be the right tactic, but only for a few minutes, as Reja’s 4-2-3-1 showed to be effective enough this evening. Within the first quarter of an hour Mauri had set up Klose, Cisse had tried a couple of times from distance and Brocchi had gone close, all without scoring. The Macedonians were doing everything in their power to stop the attacks from Lazio, and invested little energy into attacking. As a matter of fact, the visitors did not have one single shot at Marchetti’s goal this evening, and neither did they earn a corner.
20 minutes into the game one of the largest disappointments this evening opened the scoring. Hernanes was served by an outstanding Mauri, and for Dimitrivieski there was little else to do than to pick the ball out of the own net. Despite Lazio lacking in creativity during the first half, the difference of quality between the teams was evident, and before half time Mauri had doubled the scoring, and had had a correct goal ruled out for offside. With Mauri’s goal another of the protagonists of the first official game of the season introduced himself for the home crowd. Miroslav Klose, brought in on a free transfer from Bayern Munich, served the skipper – who simply could not miss the goal from a short distance. When the referee blew his whistlr for half time the game very much felt over, but the goodies were left to the second half…
In the first 45 minutes, Djibril Cisse failed with more or less everything he tried to do. His shots were either off target, or simply directed straight at the goalie, and he failed with his dribblings as well as trying to sprint away from the young Macedonians. As most spectators were starting to further question why Mauro Zarate had been left outside the squad, and why Cisse had been given a spot out on one of the two flanks, the Frenchman woke up. Without really having a good game he got a brace to his name before being subbed out for Rocchi late in the half. In minute 51 Klose showed he is not only a goal scorer, as he slipped the ball to Cisse who finished off beautifully with a powerful shot. 3-0 was shortly followed up by a second goal for the Frenchman, who had advanced into the central department and was found by a subbed in Matuzalem, this time heading the ball home. The game was over long ago, but Lazio continued producing chances and Curva Nord made everyone hear they had been gone for a summer with loud and beautiful songs accompanying the game on the pitch.
As the half continued, it was more and more obvious Rabotnicki were far from standing a chance against Lazio. With the substitutions, Matuzalem for Brocchi, Lulic for Mauri and Rocchi for Cisse, Lazio continued to look sharp. And sharpest of all was Klose this evening. The German international, very unselfishly, set up Rocchi for a fifth goal in the 87th minute and got a third assist to his name, and soon after Rocchi returned the favour as he set up the German in a similar style. 6-0 was a fact, and a tie that in beforehand looked easy turned out to be exactly that.
It is hard to draw any conclusions after a game like this, as the opponents were minors in every aspect. The fact that the visitor’s goalie was their best player, and that Marchetti in the Lazio goal had nothing to do but to watch the game taking place at the other end of the pitch, says it all. The two most worrying details of the game must be the first two substitutions for Lazio, as both Brocchi and Mauri left the pitch due to injuries.
There are still a few question marks that remain for Reja and Lazio after this game, and ahead of the season. Is Zarate to leave, despite the fans chanting his name on numerous occasions throughout the game? Why did Hernanes perform so low below his standards from last season, despite being rested and facing the weakest team Lazio will ever face this season. Is Scaloni to be regarded the starter on the right hand side of the defence? Many other issues are yet to be addressed, as tonight’s game was impressive in the score line, but gave very little space for the team and the spectators to evaluate in which state the Lazio of 2011/2012 really is…
Man of the match: Miroslav Klose
The veteran widely known for his goalscoring today showed amazing vision and provided numerous passed and ended up with 3 assists! Finally got his goal at the end in what was a perfect night for the german.
Flop of the match: Lionel Scaloni
Hard to pick the worst one when it ended with a 6-0 and a clean sheet for the defender. Was rarely troubled at the right back but provided less in attack then he usually does and was almost a spectator with Lazio attacking for 90 minutes.
Tonight the ratings are provided by LazioLands panel consisting of Eivind Ytreland, Juan Botello, Nicklas Karlsson and Pendar Khalati.
Lazio-Rabotnicky video link