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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

April 7, 2012: Lazio Napoli 3-1

Updated: Apr 7

Mauri stunner does Long John proud


A week after club legend Giorgio Chinaglia's death Lazio honour him with a spectacular win towards a Champions League place.




The season so far


Lazio had narrowly missed out on Champions League the previous season with 5th place.


This year Edy Reja had been confirmed but there had been a few changes to the squad.


The main novelty was in goal, as Lazio had bought Federico Marchetti from Cagliari while Fernando Muslera went to Galatasaray, in Turkey. The other main new arrivals were defenders Abdoulay Konko (Genoa) and Lorik Cana (Galatasaray), midfielder Senad Lulic (Young Boys, a name to watch out for… Lulic that is), forwards Djibril Cissé (Panathinaikos) and above all Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich).


The main players leaving were defender Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), midfielder Pasquale Foggia (Sampdoria), forwards Sergio Floccari (Parma-loan) and Mauro Zarate (Inter-loan).


In the winter session midfielder Antonio Candreva arrived (Cesena-loan) and defender Guglielmo Stendardo (Atalanta-loan) and forward Djibril Cissé (QPR) left.


The season did not start particularly well with 2 points in the first 3 games, but then it improved. Lazio were currently in 3rd place, so well on target for their Champions League objective. They had won 15, drawn 6 and lost 8. The highlights so far had been beating Roma twice (2-1, 2-1) and Milan (2-0). There had also been some unexpected and heavy defeats (Siena 4-0, Palermo 5-1) and in fact just a week before today's game Lazio had fallen 3-1 at Parma.


In Europa League Lazio got through the preliminary round against Rabotnicki (Macedonia), winning 6-0 and 3-1. In the group stage with Vaslui (2-2,0-0), Sporting Lisbon (1-2,2-0) and Zurich (1-1,1-0), they qualified in second place. This gave them a tough tie against Atletico Madrid which they lost 1-3 and 0-1.


In the Coppa Italia Lazio were eliminated in the quarter finals by Milan 3-1. So all their efforts were concentrated on the "Campionato".


Today's opposition Napoli were lying 4th in Serie A three points behind Lazio. Their manager was Walter Mazzarri while his assistant was Nicolò Frustalupi, son of Mario, legendary Lazio 1974 Scudetto winner. The main addition to their team this year had been former Lazio Goran Pandev, no doubt eager for revenge after his fallout with Lazio President Lotito.


So far, Napoli had won 12, drawn 12 and lost 6. They were in the final of Coppa Italia, to be played in May against Juventus (they had eliminated Cesena, Inter and Siena). They had also been involved in the Champions League and got through a difficult group stage; Manchester City (1-1, 2-1), Villareal (2-0,2-0) and Bayern Munich (1-1, 2-3). The "Azzurri" had then narrowly lost out to Chelsea in extra time (3-1, 1-4) in the Round of 16 (Chelsea went on to win it).


Tonight's game was a vital game for next year's Champions League slots.


The match: Saturday, April 7, 2012, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Official SS Lazio photo

A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in honour of former Lazio striker Giorgio Chinaglia, unsurpassed legend and possibly most important player in their history. Today's team also wore black armbands for "Long John". In the stands there were banners and chants for unforgettable and unique Giorgione.


A crowd of 40,000 was present for this clash with a taste of Europe on a humid Roman evening.


Lazio were without Klose, Lulic and André Dias while Napoli had two absences in Christian Maggio and Juan Zuniga.

Lazio went ahead almost immediately. After 9 minutes, Tommaso Rocchi teed up Candreva whose not irresistible shot went under Napoli keeper Morgan De Sanctis giving Lazio the lead, 1-0.


At this point Lazio went for a prudent approach and for a defensive game plan. The problem was they were not dangerous on the break, Rocchi at 35 gave them little depth and Hernanes was having an off day. They blocked the wings well but Napoli were dangerous centrally.


Edilson Cavani and Marek Hamsik, in the same move, almost equalised only minutes after Lazio's goal but Marchetti saved twice. Napoli insisted and the leveller came just after the half hour. In the 34th minute, a brilliant Ezequiel Lavezzi back heel freed Pandev in the area and Goran beat Marchetti. Lazio complained of a Cavani foul on Cristian Ledesma in the build-up but this was pre-VAR and the goal stood, 1-1. Napoli then had a penalty appeal turned down when Cana blocked Pandev. Half time: Lazio 1 Napoli 1.


For the second half Lazio replaced a subdued Hernanes with "El Tata" Alvaro Gonzalez's fresh legs and dynamism. Napoli started on the front foot and caused Lazio problems especially with "El Pocho" Lavezzi. The game however remained balanced. Pandev was close but failed from close range firing over the bar, Candreva gave De Sanctis a chance to redeem himself with a good save and Rocchi was then denied the tap in by Hugo Campagnaro. Rocchi then had another couple of chances but was unlucky. The teams were evenly matched, it could only be decided by a touch of magic, enter Stefano Mauri.


In the 68th minute, on a Stefan Radu cross from the left, Mauri coordinated himself perfectly and sent an acrobatic left-footed scissor kick into the top hand corner. A superb strike, the sort you try at the beach (and usually miss), probably one of Lazio's most spectacular goals ever. Lazio 2 Napoli 1.


After this stroke of brilliance Napoli's heads slumped a little and just over ten minutes later a defensive blunder finished them off. In the 80th minute a terrible back pass by Görkhan Inler forced Britos to pull down Rocchi in the area. Penalty to Lazio which Christian Ledesma did not miss. Lazio 3 Napoli 1 and final score.



Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins


It had been an even match but Mauri's outstanding goal made Lazio deserved winners just for its sheer beauty. Long John would have been pleased with Lazio's spirit and the win but no doubt would say he personally could have done better on Mauri's goal...


An important win for Lazio, now 6 points ahead of Napoli and 7 ahead of Roma. Their biggest rivals for 3rd place (last CL slot) were now Udinese 3 points behind with 7 games to go and with a home fixture against Lazio on April 29.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Bizzarri, Garrido, Kozak, Alfaro

Manager: Reja


Who played for Napoli


De Sanctis, Campagnaro, P. Cannavaro, Britos, Aronica (72' Dossena), Dzemaili, Inler, Hamsik, Pandev (79' Vargas), Lavezzi, Cavani

Substitutes: Colombo, Fideleff, Grava, Fernandez, Dezi

Manager: Mazzarri


Referee: Mazzoleni


Goals: 9' Candreva, 34' Pandev, 68' Mauri, 81' Ledesma (pen)



What happened next


Lazio were not successful in reaching their Champions League target. A week later they lost 2-1 away to Juventus and then at Novara by the same score. They lost the direct clash with Udinese 2-0 (who came 3rd with 64 points) and only won two games out of seven after the Napoli win. Lazio came 4th after 18 wins, 8 draws and 12 defeats and qualified for the Europa League on 62 points. The top scorer was Miro Klose with 15 goals (12 in Serie A). A missed opportunity but with the consolation of having won both derbies.


Napoli came 5th only a point behind Lazio. A week later they lost 1-3 at home against Atalanta but then won 4 out of the last 6. They qualified for the Europa League after 16 wins, 13 draws and 9 defeats. Their top scorer was Cavani with 33 (23 in Serie A). Napoli ended the season well however and won the Coppa Italia beating Juventus 2-0 with a Cavani penalty and Hamsik.


The scudetto was won by Juventus (28th title) while Serie B opened its jaws to Lecce, Novara and Cesena.


Lazio 2011-12

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

38

18

8

12

56

Coppa Italia

2

1

0

1

4

Europa League

10

4

3

3

17

Total

50

23

11

16

77

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Ledesma

47

37

2

8

Hernanes

42

31

2

9

Gonzalez

40

31

2

7

Marchetti

39

31

1

7

Lulic

38

27

2

9

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Klose

15

12

-

3

Hernanes

11

8

1

2

Rocchi

9

5

1

3

Cisse

5

1

1

3

Kozak

5

4

-

1

Mauri

5

4

-

1

Sculli

5

2

-

3

Let’s talk about: Modibo Diakité


Modibo Diakité was born in Bourg-la-Reine, France, on March 2, 1987. He is French of Malian parents.


He arrived in Italy at a young age brought by Sampdoria's youth sector. He then played for Pescara "Primavera" (U19's) and made his debut for the "Abruzzesi" on May 13, 2006 in a Serie B game against Catania. It would be his only match for the "Delfini" (The Dolphins).


In the summer of 2006, he was signed by Lazio for 300,000 Euros. He at first joined the Primavera team but soon went up to the first team. He made his debut under Delio Rossi and played 3 league games.


In 2007-08 he was also a reserve and played 1 game in Serie A. It was in 2008-09 that he started getting some playing time. He played 9 league games with 1 goal (Udinese) and 2 in Coppa Italia (which Lazio won).


On August 8, 2009, in Beijing, he played the whole game in Lazio's 2-1 Supercoppa triumph over Inter. He then played 19 league games, 2 in Coppa Italia and 6 in the Europa League, first under Davide Ballardini and then Edy Reja. The January signings of André Dias and Giuseppe Biava limited his games in the second part of the season.


The following year, again with Reja as manager, he made 8 league appearances and 2 in Coppa Italia.


The 2011-12 season was his best with the Biancocelesti. He played 25 league games with 1 goal (winner against Cagliari), 2 in Coppa Italia and 9 in the Europa League. Lazio came 4th in Serie A and won both derbies.


In 2012 Lazio changed manager and replaced Reja with Vladimir Petkovic. The Bosnian relied mainly on Dias, Biava and then Cana and new arrival Michael Ciani so Diakité fell behind in the pecking order and was put out of the squad. He would play only 1 game in Coppa Italia but as they say every little bit helps and Lazio went on to lift the cup beating Roma 1-0 with a Lulic goal on the unforgettable 26th of May.


In the summer of 2013 he moved to the Premier League in England and signed for Sunderland. His adventure with the Black Cats only lasted until January. He played 7 league games and 1 cup game before heading back to Italy.


In the winter market session of 2014 he joined Fiorentina on loan. In Florence with "La Viola" he played 9 Serie A games and 2 in Coppa Italia. Under Vincenzo Montella the "Gigliati" had a good season arriving 4th and were losing finalists in the Coppa Italia.


He then spent 4 months in Spain with Deportivo La Coruña but only played 3 times and then 4 months with Cagliari in Serie A, where he played 9 games.


In the summer of 2015 he joined Frosinone, near Rome, in Serie A. He played 18 league games with 1 goal (Genoa) and 1 game in Coppa Italia but in February was on the move again and the "Ciocari" eventually got relegated.


Diakite however was already at Sampdoria where he played 8 league games in a second spell in Liguria.


In January 2017 he signed for Ternana in Serie B. He played 15 games with 1 goal but in October as a free agent he moved to Bari. The " Galletti" (The Cockerels) however were in deep trouble and were excluded from Italian football (they are now back in Serie B) so Diakité returned to Umbria and Ternana playing another 36 times with 2 goals for the "Rossoverdi".


In 2022 he came back to Rome and joined Roma City, a newly formed club, in Serie D.


Diakité is a physically strong player (personally I always thought he would have made a good rugby union player). At 1.93 he is a powerful centre-back but he can also play at right full-back. He is obviously good in the air and is known for his ball-winning abilities. He is not particularly technical and although he did improve it was not enough to establish himself as a regular at top level football.


At Lazio he had only one season where he played regularly and in the others he was usually a second choice. He was popular at Lazio, for his sheer size, name, cartoon like face and for his crazy solo attacks when he would suddenly surge forward taking on the entire opposition, "è partito Modibo" (Modibo's off) was often heard at the Olimpico. "Partire" in Italian means leave but also to lose it, as in go crazy… Modibo's excursions were a bit of both.


He won silverware at Lazio, two Italian Cups (2009, 2013) and an Italian Supercup (2009). He played 90 games for the Biancocelesti and scored 2 goals.


Lazio career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

2006-07

3

3

-

-

-

2007-08

1

1

-

-

-

2008-09

11 (1)

9 (1)

2

-

-

2009-10

28

19

2

6

1

2010-11

10

8

2

-

-

2011-12

36 (1)

25 (1)

2

9

-

2012-13

1

-

1

-

-

Total

90 (2)

65 (2)

9

15

1

Sources



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