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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

April 30, 2017: Roma Lazio 1-3

Updated: Apr 30

Triumph


A Keita double and a Basta goal allow Lazio to beat Roma despite ridiculous refereeing





The season so far


So far Lazio had performed well against lower level teams but less so against the big teams. Twice they won 6-2 (Pescara and Palermo) and there were other good wins. However the games against Juventus, Napoli, Inter, Roma and Milan had brought just two points, as if the team did not think it was worthy.


The good news was that a new Lazio star was born: Ciro Immobile, who arrived from Sevilla in the summer, was scoring regularly and had become a fundamental asset. Also debuting in the first team was goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha who substituted an injured Federico Marchetti. Keita Balde was also having a very good season and scoring.


Other arrivals included defenders Bastos (Rostov), Jordan Lukaku (Ostend), Wallace (Braga) and midfielder Luis Alberto (Liverpool). Leaving Lazio were Etrit Berisha (Atalanta), Milan Bisevac (end of contract), Edson Braafheid (end of contract), Santiago Gentiletti (Genoa), Abdoulay Konko (end of contract), Mauricio (loan to Spartak Moscow), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Stefano Mauri (end of contract), Eddy Onazi (Trabzonspor), Miro Klose (retired) and Alessandro Matri (end of loan).


Simone Inzaghi, in his first full year as manager, started with a 4-4-2 formation but during the course of the year moved to 3-5-2 and the sacrificial lamb was Felipe Anderson who had to change from being a winger with a right back behind him to having to take care of the entire wing by himself.


Lazio were fourth, too far away from Champions league qualification (only the first three teams could play in the European first tier) but with an eight point cushion over Inter, seventh, so, with five games to go to the end of the season, a return to European football was a very strong possibility.


First though, got to beat Roma. They had lost the first derby of the season but had beaten Roma in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia (5-4 on aggregate). Lazio would have to face Juventus in the final later in May.


The match: Sunday, April 30 2017, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Unfortunately at the last moment Ciro Immobile dropped out of the match due to a bout of flu. Keita was chosen to be the solitary centre-forward with six players at midfield.


Roma started the game a lot better than Lazio who needed time to figure out how to play with the new 3-6-1 module. In the 2nd minute Kevin Strootman to Edin Dzeko who dribbled Stefan de Vrij and was all alone on the left just in front of Strakosha. His shot was saved into corner by the Lazio goalkeeper. In the 8th minute Mohamed Salah was unstoppable for Jordan Lukaku on the right inside the penalty box. The Egyptian shot was again saved by Strakosha.


In the 10th minute Senad Lulic slalomed through the Roma defence and once in the box very near the goal line he passed towards the centre. The Giallorossi defence cleared but the ball was picked up by Lucas Biglia. His shot went just wide.


Two minutes later, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from the centre of the pitch just over the half way line passed the ball to Keita Balde just outside the box. The Senegalese moved towards the area and once inside he went for goal. His shot went under Emerson Palmieri's legs and beat Wojciech Szczesny. 1-0 for Lazio!!!


In the 16th minute a Lukaku-Lulic one -two and the former flew towards the penalty box. Once inside,, the Belgian was clearly fouled by Federico Fazio. Penalty? Not for Daniele Orsato. With VAR the decision would almost certainly be reversed but we would have to wait until next season. In the 18th minute a good shot from Marco Parolo was saved into corner by Szczesny.


Roma disappeared and Lazio had another opportunity on the counter attack in the 36th minute. Keita easily ran into the Roma box but just when he was about to create something dangerous he slipped. The Roma defence cleared but Parolo was ready for the shot. Well saved by the keeper.


Lukaku never recovered from the 16th minute foul and had to be replaced in the 43rd by Felipe Anderson.


In the 44th minute Antonio Rudiger to Salah in the box, ball towards Strootman. Wallace tried to tackle him but missed both ball and player. The Dutchman however collapsed on the ground. Much to the disbelief of all present (except the hilarious Roma Channel commentators), Orsato gave Roma a penalty. It was never a penalty. Nice and effective piece of acting from Strootman. Daniele De Rossi took the spot kick and scored. After he ran towards the Lazio bench and made a rude gesture, not sanctioned by the ref.


The second half opened with a miraculous save by Strakosha. In the 48th minute Salah in the box on the right, ball towards the centre for Dzeko who volleyed it towards the goal. Strakosha had an incredible reflex and saved into corner.


In the 49th minute, Lulic on the left crossed, a deflection by a Rome defender cleared the ball outside the box but Dusan Basta picked it up, chested it down, moved forward and volleyed it towards the goal. The ball was deflected by Fazio, hit the inside left hand post and went into the goal. Lazio were deservedly in front again, especially after that ridiculous penalty.


Roma disappeared again and Lazio had two chances with Felipe Anderson. In the first, in the 64th minute, his shot was saved by Szczesny but he could have passed the ball to Basta in a much better position. In the second in the 82nd minute, thanks to a Biglia assist, he found himself all alone in front of the Polish keeper who miraculously saved Roma from going two down.


Francesco Totti was thrown in by manager Luciano Spalletti just in time to increase his record of defeats in the derby (he is the player who has lost the most derbies in Roma's history). In the 85th minute Felipe Anderson with a marvellous pass on the left allowed Lulic and Keita to go two against one in open play. Once inside the box the Lazio Legend passed to Keita who had a simple shot with an open goal. 3-1 for the Biancocelesti.


Apotheosis for Lazio. A magnificent game, fantastic Lulic, Keita and Strakosha.


Who played for Roma


Szczęsny, Rüdiger, Manolas, Fazio (64' Perotti), Emerson Palmieri, De Rossi (73' Totti), Strootman, Salah, Nainggolan, El Shaarawy (46' Bruno Peres), Dzeko.

Substitutes: Alisson, Lobont, Juan Jesus, Vermaelen, Mario Rui, Paredes, Grenier, Gerson. Allenatore: Spalletti.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Vargic, Adamonis, Patric, Radu, Murgia, Crecco, Luis Alberto, Lombardi

Manager: S. Inzaghi


Referee: Orsato


Goals: 12’ Keita, 45’ De Rossi (pen), 50’ Basta, 85’ Keita



What happened next


Back into Europe was the objective for the 2016-2017 season and back into Europe it would be, thanks to a good fifth place. It could have been fourth place but the team threw in the towel once European football was secured. After beating Sampdoria 7-3, they lost the last three games.


Lazio lost the Coppa Italia final 2-1 after extra time. When the score was 1-1, Filip Djordjevic hit a spectacular double post with one shot. Very unlucky.


Immobile was the leading scorer for Serie A with 23 goals, his second win, first with Lazio.


This was the last season for Biglia and Keita with Lazio. In the following years neither would repeat the standards reached with Lazio.


Lazio 2016-17

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

38

21

7

10

74

Coppa Italia

5

3

-

2

10

Total

43

24

7

12

84

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Felipe Anderson

41

36

5

Immobile

41

36

5

Milinkovic-Savic

39

34

5

Parolo

38

34

4

Lulic

35

31

4

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Immobile

26

23

3

Keita Balde

16

16

-

Milinkovic-Savic

7

4

3

Felipe Anderson

5

4

1

Parolo

5

5

-

Biglia

5

4

1

Let’s talk about: Keita Balde


When Lazio signed Keita Balde Diao and Mamadou Tounkara on a free transfer there was a lot of excitement. They both came from the Barcelona youth team and when they played their first game for the Primavera team everybody was certain they would become future stars. Tounkara virtually disappeared, Keita did not but has never managed to fulfil all of his enormous potential.


Keita was born at Arbucies, near Girona in Spain, on March 8 1995 to Senegalese parents. He started playing for the youth teams of Barcelona in 2004 and was highly considered. But one day in Qatar where the team was playing a youth competition he was punished by the club for having played a trick on a teammate. As a consequence he was sent to Cornellà where in a season he scored 47 goals. When Barcelona asked him to come back he refused and signed for Lazio.


He was a baby phenomenon. He was very fast, not very tall but could shoot with both feet, a proper winger. Lazio first waited for his Spanish passport to be ready, but since that was taking forever in the end signed him as a non- EU player so he could start playing for the Primavera.


With Lazio he won the Primavera Scudetto in 2013 together with Tounkara, Danilo Cataldi and Thomas Strakosha. For the 2013-14 season he was an A Team player, though sometimes loaned to the primavera. He debuted in Serie A (Lazio Chievo 3-0 on September 15) and Internationally (Lazio Legia Warsaw 1-0 on September 18). He scored his first professional goal at Parma on November 10.


He made a lot of appearances but did not score much. That was because he was mainly played in the second half. Stefano Pioli often used him when Lazio had difficulty in scoring. He would come on in the second half and open up defences, allowing his teammates to score. This tendency of starting him on the bench would continue even under Simone Inzaghi but at one point in the 2016-17 season, in order to put Keita nearer to the goal, Inzaghi changed Lazio’s formation to a 3-5-2. Keita was nearer Immobile and they both thrived. Keita scored 16 goals that season and showed just how good he could be.


But there was a problem. His agent, Roberto Calenda, did everything he possibly could to alienate the player from the club. His continuous intrusions and complaints did not make negotiations for Keita’s contract renewal easy. Keita considered himself a top player, on a par with his more famous colleagues, and according to his agent, at Lazio he was not getting the consideration he deserved. The player wanted lots of money and Lazio were not really prepared to satisfy him.


In the summer of 2017 Juventus were interested in signing him but the offer was too low. Milan also made an offer but Keita had already given his word to Juve so he refused. Monaco then sold Kylian Mbappé and chose Keita to substitute him.


But Keita was not Mbappé and Monaco soon realised that they had a decent player but not a top player. Monaco came second, but Keita was a bit of a disappointment, especially if compared to the Frenchman. In August 2018, he was loaned to Inter with a purchase option. He did not play as much as he wanted and often came in from the bench. That devastating player he was at Lazio was no more. He did contribute to Inter reaching the Champions League slots but at the end of the season he returned to Monaco after 29 appearances and five goals


After another year in Ligue 1 he was loaned to Sampdoria for a season but he did not impress much and at the end he returned to Monaco.


In 2021 the French side sold him to Cagliari but it was a dismal year for the club and they ended up relegated to Serie B. Keita, thanks to a special clause in his contract, became a free agent and in August 2022 signed for Spartak Moscow. He stayed until August 2023, not playing all that much, when he signed for Espaynol in the Spanish second tier.


Keita could have played for either Spain or Senegal and in the end he decided to play for the latter. He has played in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017, 2019 and 2021 and also played one game in the 2018 World Cup. He has appeared 40 times for Senegal and scored 6 goals.


Keita played 137 games for Lazio (110 in Serie A, 12 in Coppa Italia, 2 in Champions League and 13 in Europa League) and scored 31 goals (26 in Serie A, 3 in Coppa Italia, one in Champions League and one in Europa League).


He was a very exciting player who could change the course of a match in a second. Powerful, fast, good dribbler, it was a pity that he did not fulfil all of the promise.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

2013-14

35 (6)

25 (5)

2

-

8 (1)

2014-15

29 (4)

23 (1)

6 (3)

-

-

2015-16

39 (5)

31 (4)

1

2 (1)

5

2016-17

34 (16)

31 (16)

3

-

-

Total

137 (31)

110 (26)

12 (3)

2 (1)

13 (2)

Sources




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