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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

April 25, 2010: Genoa Lazio 1-2

Updated: Apr 25

Lazio overturn Genoa and reach holy grail of 40 points


A convincing performance and a superb Floccari ease Lazio's worries





The season so far


The previous season had been Delio Rossi's last and ended on a triumphal note winning the Coppa Italia.


This year Lazio had chosen Davide Ballardini as their new manager and there were several changes to the squad. In the summer Lazio had brought in goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri, defender, future Argentina manager and World Cup winner Lionel Scaloni (Mallorca - back from loan), midfielders Roberto Baronio (Brescia - back from loan) and Eliseu (Malaga) plus striker Julio Cruz (Inter).


In the winter two good defenders had been signed, Giuseppe Biava (Genoa) and André Dias (São Paulo) alongside midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart) and striker Sergio Floccari (Genoa).


In the summer obviously some players had also left. Hugely disappointing goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo (who had been welcomed as the new messiah) went to Saragozza on loan. Homegrown talent and Lazio fan, Lorenzo De Silvestri went to Fiorentina while versatile Luciano Zauri and striker Libor Kozak were loaned to Sampdoria and Brescia.


Out of contract Goran Pandev, after some fine years and final controversies, went to Inter. In the January winter session defender Emílson Cribari headed to Siena on loan while Eliseu, after a poor few months, was sent to Saragozza on loan.


Lazio's season had started in a dreamlike fashion. On August 8 in Beijing, Lazio had defeated José Mourinho's "Triplete" winning Inter 2-1 to lift the Italian Supercoppa for the third time. Goals by Francelino Matuzalém and Tommaso Rocchi sank the seemingly invincible Nerazzurri.


Serie A had also started well ... for 2 matches. Lazio beat Atalanta and Chievo but then failed to win another match until December 13 (Genoa 1-0). Things had got so bad that Ballardini was sacked in February after a home defeat by Catania. In came veteran Edy Reja and Lazio won the first match 2-0 away at Parma but then only got one point in the next 4 games. Since then a win at Cagliari, a win against Siena, an away point at Milan, a point versus Napoli and a 3-2 away win at Bologna had lifted Lazio's fears a little.


A week earlier however Lazio had undeservedly lost the derby 2-1 to Roma. To make matters worse Roma were top of the table with only 4 matches to go. Lazio needed something out of today's game to not risk undoing their previous good work. The next match would be against Inter, Roma's rivals for the title, and Lazio certainly did not want to be reduced to having to win that at all costs (for its difficulty but also for city rivalry issues).


In Europe Lazio had qualified for the Europa League group stage by knocking out Swedes Elfsborg (3-0, 0-1). They had then however been eliminated after playing Salzburg (1-2, 1-2), Levski Sofia (4-0, 0-1) and Villareal (2-1, 1-4).


The previous season Genoa had finished an excellent 5th but since then they had lost Diego Milito and Thiago Motta to Inter and in January Floccari to Lazio.


This year Genoa were having a decent season, again under Gian Piero Gasperini. After 3 matches they were top of the table but now they were 8th. The "Grifone" had won 13, drawn 9 and lost 12 (including Lazio 1-0)


They had also had a European campaign. They got through the Europa League preliminary round against Danish Odense (3-1, 1-1). In the group stage they then played Slavia Praga (2-0, 0-0), Valencia (2-3, 1-2) and Lille (0-3, 3-2) and were eliminated.


So Genoa came into today's game still with a chance of getting back into Europe but they would have to win every game, starting with Lazio.


The match: Sunday, April 25, 2010, Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa


On a warm spring day, a crowd of 26,000 were present at the former Marassi.


Lazio came into today's game without Cristian Ledesma and Aleksander Kolarov both suspended following the previous week's derby. They were replaced by Baronio and Simone Del Nero.


Genoa started strongly, controlling possession and with quick forays down the wings. The Rossoblu took the lead after only eight minutes. A free kick from the edge of the box was taken quickly and surprised Lazio, who were still organizing their wall, the ball came to Rodrigo Palacio whose low, angled shot from outside the area beat a slightly hesitant Fernando Muslera. Genoa 1 Lazio 0.


Lazio reacted well however to this early setback. They started defending higher and with a constant pressing put the home side on the back foot. Stefano Mauri had a powerful long range volley go just wide and then Lazio equalised. In the 25th minute, from a Baronio corner, Dias rose higher than anyone in a crowded area and his strong header beat Alessio Scarpi. Genoa 1 Lazio 1.


Genoa lost Emiliano Moretti through injury a minute later, replaced by Giandomenico Mesto. Lazio started to find inviting open spaces on the break and went ahead in the 32nd minute. A collective defensive indecision was exploited by Floccari who squeezed between two defenders and poked home Lazio’s second. Genoa 1 Lazio 2. An impressive turnaround by Lazio.


A chance for Raffaele Palladino well saved by Muslera was followed by a classic counter foot by Lazio. Floccari, a constant threat to his former teammates, skilfully beat an opponent just over midfield and surged 20 metres towards goal then feeding Tommaso Rocchi, who had made a cutting run eluding the central defenders, the Venetian striker's shot however hit the crossbar and went over. Lazio then scored a third but Rocchi's tap-in after a Floccari shot was judged offside. Lazio’s defence with Dias and Stefan Radu on top form then kept Genoa at bay until the halftime whistle. Genoa 1 Lazio 2. A promising first 45 minutes by the Biancocelesti.


In the second half Genoa pushed for an equaliser but lacked ideas and were well absorbed by a determined and hard battling Lazio. The visitor's manager Reja was sent off for dissent in the 65th minute but Lazio’s task was made a lot easier four minutes later when Genoa defender Salvatore Bocchetti was also given his marching orders.


At this point an already subdued home side lost vigour and Lazio played out the game without running excessive risks. The "Grifone's" only big chance came on a Domenico Criscito close range header but it went straight into Muslera's arms. Genoa then only had some half chances, corners and scrambles in the area but Lazio ultimately brought home a deserved and crucial win. Genoa 1 Lazio 2.


Lazio now had a six point cushion on third bottom Atalanta, with only three games to go. Maybe they could even afford to lose against Inter the following week ... (admitting they realistically had much choice in the matter).


Who played for Genoa


Scarpi, Sokratis, Moretti (26' Mesto), Bocchetti, Tomovic (50' Fatic), Milanetto, Juric, Criscito, Palacio, Acquafresca, Palladino (61' Sculli)

Substitutes: Amelia, El Shaarawy, Boakye, Zapater

Manager: Gasperini


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Berni, Firmani, Hitzlsperger, Diakité

Manager: Reja


Referee: Morganti


Goals: 8' Palacio, 25' Dias, 32' Floccari



What happened next


A few hours after Lazio's win in Genoa there was some more good news. In the evening game Roma crashed to an unexpected home defeat to Sampdoria through a Giampaolo Pazzini brace. A nightmare summer coloured red and yellow could still be avoided. Inter were now top of the table but next up was Lazio vs Inter, while Roma had Parma away.

A dilemma for Lazio who were not mathematically safe yet but in no way wanted to hand their bitter rivals the title on a plate.


The fans had no doubts and preferred to have to wait and hope for points against Livorno and Udinese than see the Romanisti celebrate on their doorsteps. The players claimed they would not be affected by the situation but they clearly were (maybe they just did not want their tyres, or worse, slashed by their own fans) and put in a weak performance, losing 2-0. Inter were vastly superior anyway so who knows how much was Lazio’s apathy and how much Inter's strength. The Lazio fans were pleased though and famously pulled out the ironic banner "Oh noooooo!!!" when Inter took the lead.


Lazio then won their last two games, 2-1 away at Livorno and 3-1 at home to Udinese. They finished a comfortable 12th, nine points above the last relegation slot. Top scorer in all competitions was Rocchi with 10 while in Serie A it was Floccari with 8.


Genoa lost two out of the last three games although they did beat Milan 1-0. They finished 9th, four points behind Juventus in the last European position. Their top scorer was Palacio with 8 (7 in Serie A).


Inter and Roma both won their respective last three games so, despite Roma being champions for 33 minutes on the last day of the season, the Scudetto was Neroazzuro. They also went on to win the Champions League and Coppa Italia thus completing the "Triplete".


The three trudging down a level were Livorno, Siena and Atalanta.


Lazio 2009-10

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

11

13

14

39

Coppa Italia

2

1

-

1

4

Europa League

8

3

-

5

12

Super Coppa

1

1

-

-

2

Total

49

16

13

20

57

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Lichtsteiner

43

33

2

7

1

Mauri

43

34

2

6

1

Muslera

42

36

2

3

1

Kolarov

41

33

2

5

1

Zarate

41

31

2

7

1

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Rocchi

10

6

1

2

1

Floccari

9

8

1

-

-

Zarate

8

3

1

4

-

Kolarov

5

3

1

1

-

Mauri

4

3

-

1

-

Cruz

4

3

-

1

-

Let's talk about Simone Del Nero

Simone Del Nero was born in Carrara, on August 4, 1981.


He spent his youth career at Empoli. He then played 4 games for the "Azzurri" between 1998 and 2000. The first year in Serie A and the second in B.


He then spent the 2000-2001 season at Brescia in Serie B, playing 3 games.


In 2001 he made a strange career move and was loaned to Livingston, in the Scottish Premier League. He only played 1 league game and 5 in the domestic cups with 1 goal. In January 2002 he returned to Brescia in Serie A and played 5 games (3 in league and 2 in Coppa Italia) before being loaned to Palermo in Serie B until June but he never played for the Rosaneri.


In 2003-04 he was back at Brescia playing alongside Roberto Baggio and future Lazio Mauri and Matuzalem. He played 21 league games with 1 goal (Inter in a 3-1 away win) and 2 games in Coppa Italia under Gianni De Biasi and the" Rondinelle "(Little Swallows) finished 11th.


The following year without Baggio but, with a young Marek Hamsik and Marco Del Vecchio, Brescia were relegated. First under De Biasi and then Alberto Cavasin, Del Nero played 21 league games again with 1 goal (Bologna in 2-1 away win) and 2 games in Coppa Italia with 1 goal ( Fiorentina).


In 2005-06 in Serie B he played 34 league games with 4 goals plus 4 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal. Brescia finished 10th under first Rolando Maran and then former Lazio Zdenek Zeman.


In 2006-07 Brescia did slightly better and finished 6th. Del Nero played 23 league games, with 1 goal, and 5 in Coppa Italia, with 1 goal. After a total of 125 games and 10 goals for the Biancazzurri it was time to move on.


In the summer of 2007 he joined Lazio. He was immediately important in Lazio's Champions League preliminary round. In the return leg against Dinamo Bucharest, after a 1-1 home draw, Del Nero was decisive in the 3-1 away victory winning a penalty and getting an assist for Lazio's second. In the league he was not so lucky and only played 5 league games while he was used more by Delio Rossi in the Champions League, getting 6 appearances. He suffered from injuries and had to undergo surgery on his foot at the end of the season.


The following season he played 6 league games but won his first silverware, the Coppa Italia, coming on in the 80th minute in the final won on penalties against Sampdoria.


In 2009-10 he won his second trophy, the Italian Supercoppa, in a 2-1 triumph over Mourinho's Inter in Beijing. In the league he started to be used at full-back first by Davide Ballardini and then by Edy Reja. He made 7 league appearances and 2 in Coppa Italia.


The next season was particularly unlucky as he got injured in the first match of the season and then with Reja's tactical change to a 4-man backline he played even less. He made 2 league appearances but did get his first goal for Lazio in a 3-0 win over Albinoleffe in Coppa Italia.


The 2011-12 season would be his last in Rome. After playing 2 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia, in January he was loaned to Cesena in Serie A. He played 11 league games with 2 goals (Parma, Roma). Cesena tried 3 different managers but got relegated.


That was his last experience in the big time. He went to Malaysia for a year and played for Johor Darul Ta'zim. He then played three years for Massese in Lega Pro (third tier) with 46 games and 16 goals, and a year for his hometown team Carrarese, 19 games and 4 goals, before returning to Massese in Serie D, 26 games and 5 goals. His last team was Rivasamba (Sestri Levante) in the 5th tier where he played for two years under his father Davide and alongside his younger brother Manuele.


At international level he was called up by the Italy U-18's but without caps, then played 13 games for the U21's winning the European Championship in 2004. For this feat the whole squad was made "Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (a Knight Order of Merit). He also played 6 games for the Italian Olympic team and won a bronze medal at Athens 2004.


Del Nero was a talented player but his career was hindered by injuries and, as he has admitted himself, a fragile character. He could play in midfield but also at full-back. He had good technique and stamina but was a little weak physically.


At Lazio he played a total of 35 games with 1 goal. He won two trophies but will best be remembered for his excellent display in Bucharest which helped Lazio into the Champions League group stage.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

2007-08

11

5

-

6

2008-09

7

6

1

-

2009-10

9

7

2

-

2010-11

4 (1)

2

2 (1)

-

2011-Jan 2012

4

2

2

-

Total

35 (1)

22

7 (1)

6

Sources


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