Rui Patricio, Insua, Onyewu, Anderson Polga, Joao Pereira, Fernandez (70' Andrè Santos), Rinaudo, Schaars, Capel (74' Carrico), Van Wolfswinkel, Carrillo (53' Evaldo).
Marchetti, Konko, Dias (69' Radu), Diakitè, Lulic, Gonzalez, Cana, Brocchi (63' Sculli), Hernanes, Klose (46' Cisse), Rocchi.
After the disappointing opening game, where Lazio only managed a draw to Vaslui at home, a visit to Jose Alvalade was next stop for the Italians. The home team started with a convincing away win against Zurich in their opener, and based on the form of the teams so far this season, anything but a loss would have been seen as bonus for the so far underachieving Italians.
The first half was clearly Sporting’s and Lazio felt very much like not being fully engaged in the game. Miroslav Klose, so far the most impressive Lazio layer this season, was a constant threat though, and early on in the game managed to put some pressure on the white and green home team. Klose, partly assisted by Hernanes, created three decent attempts within the first quarter of an hour, but soon the pendulum swung in the favour of the speedier Portuguese and Marchetti had to stay alert all through the rest of the half.
In a team with 17 (!) new faces in the locker room, and with a new coach, van Wolfswinkel has been shining most brightly so far this season. The former Vitesse and Utrecht striker opened the scoring this evening with a beautiful goal. Lazio were all left watching as the attacker elegantly flicked a ball delivered by Diego Capel in with his heel. Sporting grew in power and creativity as the half progressed and Marchetti showed he is slowly getting into shape after the last year having been spent in the stands at Cagliari.
Lazio managed to bounce back before half time though, with Hernanes delivering a powerful free kick towards the second post and Miro Klose finding the net behind Rui Patricio. With the German international in his current form Lazio always look dangerous inside the penalty area, and with Tommaso Rocchi yet to receive enough playing time to find his form this season and Djibril Cisse starting on the bench, Klose took huge responsibility in the offensive duties this evening.
With the clock having passed the one minute of added time, everyone was awaiting the half time whistle to sound but two men. Firstly, the Belgian referee decided to let the play go on, leading to Insua firing a powerful shot – resulting in a 2-1 lead for his team. The referee came to have a tough evening after this, handing out numerous yellow cards as well a red before the second 45 had come to an end.
As the two teams entered the pitch, Edy Reja was no longer on the Lazio bench, but rather in the stands. Reports suggest Reja had a few words to say to the referee between halves, and obviously he went too far. Only five minutes into the game the referee and Insua again linked up, this time only for the player to be awarded a red card after his second booking. Lazio was now facing a ten men Sporting, and the chance of creating an upset against the so far superior Portuguese was on the hands.
The home team did not solely trust a tight defence to make the most out of the one goal advantage, and as long as the players were not too fatigued they launched attempts towards the Lazio goal. The better chances were all created by Lazio though, with two of them being harder to miss than to score on. First Konko managed to hit the crossbar despite having a more or less open goal, having been at the right place after Sculli’s header had been parried by the goalie. Skipper Rocchi, who is still stuck at 99 goals and searching for the historical 100th, missed an even clearer chance, as he somehow managed to head the ball wide on a Cisse cross that left him lonely with a whole goal. When missing chances of this kind it is hard to win football matches, and despite Sporting being superior as long as both teams had eleven players, it is very disappointing for the Lazio faithful to know they will be travelling back with no points.
Luckily for Lazio, the two other teams in the group fought a 2-2 draw, leaving Sporting alone at the top of the league with six points, while Vaslui have earned two and Lazio and Zurich are both stuck on one.
Picture Gallery : http://lazioland.com/GallerySub.htm?AlbumId=464
Man of the match: Miroslav Klose
Even with only 45 minutes on the pitch Klose seemed liked the only attacking threat today. Scored a crucial goal right before half time, but unfortunately leading to any points for Lazio this evening.
Flop of the match: Tommaso Rocchi
Even trusted with a rare start and playing 90 min. wasn't enough for the veteran to contribute. Tried to make some runs, but was constantly caught offside.
Honourable mention: Stefan Radu
The Romanian is finally back from injury and played 21 minutes today as Reja subbed Dias towards the end of the game. Will be crucial for the Lazio defence the upcoming games.