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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

April 30, 2022: Spezia Lazio 3-4

Fundamental last-minute win

 

A controversial last gasp goal from Acerbi gives Lazio fundamental win




Source Lazio Wiki

The season so far

 

The planning of the 2021-22 season practically started only a few days after the end of the previous one.  Simone Inzaghi, Claudio Lotito and Igli Tare met in the evening of May 23 to discuss the manager’s contract renewal. By the very early hours of the 24th all was settled: Inzaghi would sign another contract with Lazio and was expected at the club headquarters the next morning. This is what he told his closest collaborators as well as a few players.


What was really happening? Apparently Inzaghi was buying time, faking a possible renewal with Lazio while at the same time negotiating a deal with Inter. On the morning of the 24th, Simone called Lotito to basically say “sorry, ain’t coming in this morning, gonna sign with Inter”. A shock for Lazio who really did not expect to lose Inzaghi. Apparently Inzaghi and Tare had even spoken about the summer transfers. Everything had been agreed. Lazio had to start from scratch.


Lotito at this point had to decide what to do. So he chose change, drastic change, both in mentality and professionalism: in came Maurizio Sarri. This meant moving from the Inzaghi classic 3-5-2 formation to 4-3-3, a BIG change.


Lazio had budget problems and could not invest too much on new players: in came Mattia Zaccagni, Pedro, Toma Basic, Elsied Hysaj, Luka Romero and the return of Felipe Anderson. Senad Lulic and Marco Parolo did not have their contract extended and Lazio also said goodbye to Joaquin Correa and Felipe Caicedo.

 

The season started well with two wins but then became very inconsistent. Great wins (Inter, Roma), great collapses (Bologna, Verona, Napoli), completely incapable of finding some kind of happy medium. Whereas from an attacking point of view the team were doing well, they were terrible defensively, from the goalkeeper to the central defenders but the midfield was also to blame, unable to give sufficient cover. Some players adapted perfectly to the new system (Ciro Immobile was scoring more than ever, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was having his best season at Lazio), others were having problems (Luis Alberto, Francesco Acerbi, Luiz Felipe, Manuel Lazzari). But Sarri did warn everybody that the first season was going to be a transitional one, and that it was preparatory for 2022-23.

 

The Europa League Group stage was determined by an incredible howler by Thomas Strakosha which cost Lazio the match against Galatasaray. This undermined the rest of the tournament and Lazio arrived second in their group and would play Porto in the playoff. Despite showing that potentially the Biancocelesti were the better team, they lost in Portugal 2-1 due to defensive errors and only managed to draw 2-2 at home.

 

In Coppa Italia, the Biancocelesti struggled at home against Udinese and only won in extra time. The quarter final, played a few days before the Bologna game, against Milan was a disaster with Lazio having another one of their black outs. They lost 4-0 and were eliminated.

 

The Biancocelesti were currently fifth, battling for Europa League qualification with Roma (same points), Fiorentina (two points behind) and Atalanta (four behind).

 

The match: Saturday, April 30, 2022, Stadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia

 

The teams started slowly but in the 9th minute Spezia scored. Free kick on the left, Daniele Verde crossed into the box, Petko Hristov headed it to the far post, Thomas Strakosha stayed put and Kelvin Amian beat him to open the score. Lazio were forced to increase pressure and in the 23rd minute a typical Manuel Lazzari foray allowed Ciro Immobile to shoot, great save by Ivan Provedel. In the 30th minute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic tried a slalom in the Ligurian area and from a difficult angle attempted a shot which Provedel saved into corner. In the 33rd minute long ball from Francesco Acerbi to Milinkovic-Savic in the box. As he controlled the ball Dimitris Nikolau handballed it, so penalty for Lazio. Immobile made no mistake, 1-1.

 

So, the Biancocelesti now ready for the onslaught until the end of the first half? No. Because 60 seconds later Spezia scored their second. Patric and Danilo Cataldi were passing the ball to each other in the centre of the pitch, the Spaniard missed the ball and Kevin Agudelo had a freeway towards Strakosha and did not miss.

 

In the second half, predictably, Lazio pitched their tent in the Spezia half and in the 54th minute equalised. Mattia Zaccagni from the extreme left moved a little towards centre and once in the box tried a shot which hit the woodwork, bounced off Provedel and went in. Unlucky for Spezia.

 

One would think that Lazio had learnt their lesson in the first half. They had not. Two minutes later, freekick for Spezia on the left. Verde crossed into the box and Hristov headed the ball in. The Ligurians back in front.

 

Luis Alberto came on for Toma Basic in the 59th minute and Lazio changed gears. Ten minutes later, after a long pass from the Spaniard to Milinkovic-Savic in the box, Arkadiusz Reca failed to stop the big Serb who deposited the ball in the back of the net.

 

Lazio put their foot down. In the 80th minute Zaccagni went off on the left and once inside the box tried a shot that hit the woodwork. Ten minutes later the Biancocelesti scored their winning goal. Luis Alberto dispossessed a Spezia defender and passed to Immobile. His shot was saved by Provedel, ball back to Luis Alberto who tried a shot that was blocked by a Spezia defender. It reached Acerbi who with a left footed lob put Lazio ahead.

 

Unfortunately for Spezia, although Acerbi was offside, there was then a misunderstanding between the referee and the VAR room and play was restarted before the final check was over.

 

Lazio were lucky today.

 

Who played for Spezia


Provedel, Amian, Hristov, Nikolaou, Reca, Maggiore (81' Bastoni), Kiwior; Verde (78' Antiste), Agudelo (81' Kovalenko), Gyasi, Manaj (89' Salcedo)

Substitutes: Zoet, Ferrer, Bourabia, Sher, Nguiamba, Zovko, Strelec, Bertola

Manager: Thiago Motta

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Reina, Adamonis, Radu, Kamenović, Akpa Akpro, Cabral

Manager: Sarri

 

Referee: Pairetto

 

Goals: 9' Amian, 33' Immobile (pen), 35' Agudelo, 54' Provedel (og), 56' Hristov, 68' Milinkovic, 90' Acerbi



What happened next

 

Europa League qualification was ultimately secured thanks to a last-minute equaliser in Turin against Juventus and the draw at home in the final game against Verona also clinched 6th place.

 

The player with most appearances was Felipe Anderson (48) and the top goal scorer was obviously Immobile with 32 goals. He was the top scorer in Serie A for the fourth time, the first Italian player ever to achieve such a feat.


Lazio 2021-2022

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

38

18

10

10

77

Coppa Italia

2

1

0

1

1

Europa League

8

2

4

2

10

Total

48

21

14

13

88

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Felipe Anderson

48

38

2

8

Milinkovic-Savic

47

37

2

8

Leiva

45

35

2

8

Luis Alberto

44

34

2

8

Cataldi

42

32

2

8

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Immobile

39

27

1

4

Milinkovic-Savic

11

11

-

-

Pedro

10

9

-

1

Felipe Anderson

7

6

-

1

Luis Alberto

5

5

-

-

Zaccagni

5

4

-

1

Let's talk about Ivan Provedel



Ivan Provedel was born on March 17, 1994 in Pordenone. He started playing football as a forward in the Pordenone youth teams. But what he really wanted to be was a goalkeeper so he left and went to play for Liapiave, the only team willing to try him out in that position. In 2010 he signed for Udinese and reached the primavera team. After two years he moved to Chievo Verona.

 

In the next four seasons he was loaned to four different teams: Pisa in Lega Pro First Division (the former Serie C1), Perugia, Modena and Pro Vercelli in Serie B. In 2017 he was sold to Empoli who were playing in Serie B. They won promotion but he missed the last four months of activity due to injury. He came back and debuted in Serie A against Frosinone on October 21, 2018. By February he lost his place in the first eleven. Empoli were relegated but he stayed on. The lack of playing time translated into a loan to Juve Stabia in January 2020, for six months. Here, on February 7, he scored a goal in the final minutes of Juve Stabia-Ascoli, thus joining the limited group of goalkeepers who have scored goals. It would not be his last either.

 

In October 2020 he was sold to Spezia and immediately debuted with his new team. He stayed two years in Liguria, until he signed for Lazio in August 2022.

 

Theoretically he was supposed to be backup goalkeeper to Luis Maximiano, but the Portuguese made a terrible mistake on his debut. After just a few minutes he saved a ball with his hands outside the penalty box. He was sent off and in came Ivan Provedel. He never left and took over the goal for the Biancocelesti. He did very well and was elected best goalkeeper of the season. Not surprisingly with 21 clean sheets. The Biancocelesti came second and qualified for the Champions League.

 

One of the highlights of his career occurred on September 19, 2023, in Lazio’s first game in the top European competition against Atletico Madrid. Minute 94, Lazio were behind. The referee let Lazio take a corner since injury time was four minutes but almost over. Danilo Cataldi took it and sent the ball towards the front post. Mario Hermoso looked as if he controlled it with his hands and the Olimpico cried out for a penalty. Ball back to Cataldi who passed to Luis Alberto, on the left, just outside the box.

 

At this point, Ivan Provedel, who had gone forward for the last desperate attempt, started thinking “he is going to cross on the far post, he always does that”. Luis Alberto stopped the ball and crossed into the box.

 

Provedel had quietly followed all the Spaniard’s moves and knew just exactly what he had to do. The Atlético defenders were not watching him, as a matter of fact, they did not even see him, Ivan was invisible.


The ball was in the air and Provedel, like an experienced centre-forward, went for it. His header beat Jan Oblak. Lazio 1 Atletico 1.


Official SS Lazio photo

This goal became iconic and went viral all over the world. Provedel was the first goalkeeper to score for Lazio since Lucidio Sentimenti IV, but was the first keeper ever to score in open play (Sentimenti IV took penalties). Only three other goalkeepers have scored in the Champions League: Hans-Jorg Butt, who scored three penalties, all against Juventus, Sinan Bolat, the only other keeper to score in open play in a 2009 game between Standard Liège and AZ Alkmaar, and Vincent Enyeama who scored on a penalty for Hapoel Tel Aviv in a defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in 2010.

 

He continued to play well in the 2023-24 season and though he did make a couple of serious mistakes, his contribution was always optimal. He suffered a serious injury in the home game against Udinese and was out for a couple of months.

 

Provedel is an excellent goalkeeper. Reactive, quick, consistent. A great signing for Lazio. In February 2024 he extended his contract until 2027.


Lazio Career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Conference League

Super Coppa

2022-23

45

38

-

-

6

1

-

2023-24

38 (1)

28

1

8 (1)

-

-

1

Total

83 (1)

66

1

8 (1)

6

1


Sources






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