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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

August 23, 2009: Lazio Atalanta 1-0

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

A Rocchi start


A fatigued Lazio edge Atalanta with solitary Rocchi goal


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. With the change in the dug out there came several changes to the squad. In the summer Lazio had brought in goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri, defender and future Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni (Mallorca- back from loan), midfielders Roberto Baronio (Brescia- back from loan), Eliseu (Malaga) and Fabio Firmani (Al-Wasl - back from loan) plus striker Julio Cruz (Inter). So not a memorable incoming player market.


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 and David Rozehnal was sold to SV Hamburger. 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.


Goran Pandev and Christian Ledesma were out of favour and excluded from the squad over contractual issues.


Lazio's season had started in a dreamlike fashion. On August 8 in Beijing, the Biancocelesti had defeated José Mourinho's 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.


Lazio started the league with the enthusiasm of having won silverware but realistically did not expect any more miracles from the season.


Atalanta had finished 11th the previous season, with manager Luigi Delneri. Top scorer had been, future Lazio, Sergio Floccari with 12 league goals.


This season the "Dea" had a new coach, Lazio legend Angelo Gregucci, who had done well at Vicenza over the last few years.


The other main comings and goings over the summer had been: in, Édgar Barreto (Reggina -back from loan), Giacomo Bonaventura (Pergocrema- back from loan), Fabio Caserta (Catania), Robert Acquafresca (Genoa-on loan) plus Simone Tiribocchi (Lecce) and out, Luca Cigarini (Napoli), Alessio Cerci (Roma- end of loan), Diego De Ascentis (end of contract) and Sergio Floccari (Genoa). Hardly stuff to put a bottle of white Valcalepio to chill.


Another former Lazio player was on the bench for the visitors. José Leonardo Talamonti, best remembered for his excellent defensive display in the epic January 6, 2005, 3-1 derby triumph.


The match: Sunday, August 23, 2009, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Not a big crowd for Lazio’s league debut, about 25,000. It was an 8.45 kick-off to avoid the August heat and Lazio had also played in Europe three days earlier (Elfsborg 3-0 in Europa league playoff) so there were concerns over their stamina over the 90 minutes.


Before the whistle there was time for long and heartfelt applause for Angelo Gregucci, former Lazio player and "meno nove" (-9) season hero.


Lazio chose Tommaso Rocchi, Mauro Zarate and Pasquale Foggia up front while the visitors opted for Cristiano Doni and Robert Acquafresca.


Both teams had early chances. Zarate teed up Rocchi but the Venetian shot high. For Atalanta, Acquafresca took advantage of a careless Christian Brocchi back pass but he could not find the target.


Gradually however the "Dea" gained control of the midfield with Jaime Valdes and Simone Padoin forcing Alexander Kolarov and Stephan Lichsteiner to stay deep, leaving Rocchi too isolated. The visitors however never found the last pass to be really dangerous and were limited to a couple of long-range shots by Barreto.


In the 22nd minute Lazio stirred and went ahead. A brilliant Foggia assist put Rocchi through and this time he found the net with a low finish. Lazio 1 Atalanta 0.


At this point Lazio made a slight tactical change, bringing Foggia further back and placing Zarate further forward. This subdued Atalanta's control of the wings and the visitors faded. It was Lazio who went closest to scoring again. Just before halftime a Kolarov cross goal left foot went wide by a whisker.


There were no changes at halftime. It was immediately clear that Lazio were flagging, the lack of fitness, the heat and especially Thursday' s game were taking their toll.


In the 54th minute the Nerazzurri went close when Acquafresca shot high from the penalty spot after a György Garic cross, the so-called penalty in movement. Atalanta pushed forward and Ballardini was forced to bring on some fresh legs. First Ousmane Dabo replaced Roberto Baronio and a few minutes later Francelino Matuzalém came on for Foggia.


With a compact midfield Lazio managed to tamper the pressure better and occasionally ventured forward with a couple of Zarate efforts but they were off target.


Atalanta attacked until the end and had a penalty appeal waved away, when Emílson Cribari held on to Simone Tiribocchi (who had replaced Valdes in 71'). The Bergamaschi made two more changes in the last ten minutes, Federico Peluso (Lazio fan) for Garics and Fabio Caserta for Doni and piled on more pressure but Lazio held on. Full time Lazio 1 Atalanta 0.


An unspectacular but important win on their league debut for Lazio. A hard fought three points against Atalanta who were solid but lacked serious threat up front.


Who played for Lazio


Muslera, Lichtsteiner, Cribari, Kolarov, Siviglia, Brocchi, Baronio (58' Dabo), Foggia (63' Matuzalem), Mauri, Zarate, Rocchi (79' Cruz)

Substitutes: Bizzarri, Radu, Eliseu, Scaloni

Manager: Ballardini


Who played for Atalanta


Consigli, Garics (84' Peluso), Bianco, T. Manfredini, Bellini, Padoin, Barreto, Guarente, Valdes (71' Tiribocchi), Doni (84' Caserta), Acquafresca

Substitutes: Coppola, Talamonti, N. Madonna, Radovanovic

Manager: Gregucci


Referee: Pierpaoli


Goals: 22' Rocchi



What happened next


A week later Lazio won 2-1 away at Chievo but then their season unravelled. The Biancocelesti would not win another game until December 13 (Genoa 1-0 at home) and on February 7, after a 0-1 home defeat by Catania, Ballardini was sacked. Lazio were 18th and very much in the relegation battle.


Edy Reja came in and won the first game 2-0 at Parma. Lazio then went four games winless but then picked up and finished 12th, with 6 wins in the last 10 games.


In the Europa League (still under Ballardini) Lazio went out in a group with Salzburg, Levski Sofia and Villareal, after 2 wins and 4 defeats.


In the Coppa Italia Lazio were eliminated in the quarter finals by Fiorentina 2-3 in Florence.


Top scorer was Rocchi with 10 goals while in the league it was Sergio Floccari with 8.


Atalanta's season was even worse. They changed managers three times from Angelo Gregucci (1-4), Antonio Conte (5-18, resigned), Walter Bonacina (19) and finally Bortolo Mutti (19-38). Atalanta finished 18th and were relegated. They won 9 (including Lazio 3-0), drew 8 and lost 21.


In Coppa Italia they were knocked out by Lumezzane (third tier) 0-1 in the 4th round, with a goal by a player they owned .... not a great season. Top scorer was Tiribocchi with 11 goals, all in Serie A.


They would however bounce straight back up to the top flight and have been there ever since.


The Scudetto was won by Inter who then went on to win Champions League and Coppa Italia, the famous “triplete”.


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 Pasquale Foggia


Official SS Lazio Photo

Pasquale Foggia was born in Naples, on June 3, 1983.


He started playing football locally with Banco di Napoli. At 14 he was spotted by Padova and then in 1999 joined Milan's youth sector. A curious fact is that in the transaction Roberto De Zerbi (Brighton's current manager) went the other way and joined Padova.


In 2000 he moved to Treviso in Serie B. He played 16 games with one goal but the Biancocelesti from Veneto were relegated. The following two years he played in C1, making 54 league appearances with 12 goals plus 2 games in Coppa Italia. In his last season Treviso won the league and were promoted back to Serie B.


Foggia however was off to Serie A. In 2003 he joined Empoli, coached by Daniele Baldini and then after seven games by Attilio Perotti. Foggia played 19 league games with 1 goal (Parma) and 2 games in Coppa Italia. The Tuscans were relegated to Serie B despite having Tommaso Rocchi and Antonio Di Natale up front and Emilson Cribari in defence.


The following season after 9 league matches and 2 in Coppa Italia with Empoli he moved to Crotone in Serie B. In Calabria he played 15 league games with 1 goal under former Lazio Andrea Agostinelli. The Sharks finished 16th.


In 2005 he was back in Serie A with Ascoli. He had an excellent season under Massimo Silva. He played 34 league games with 4 goals and 2 games in Coppa Italia. The Woodpeckers finished 10th. The Ascoli president was curiously called Roberto Benigni (no relation to Tuscan actor/comedian).


In 2006 he arrived in the capital on loan (he was still owned by Milan). Lazio had Delio Rossi as manager and Foggia played 11 league games with 1 goal (Ascoli) and 1 game in Coppa Italia. In January however he was loaned to Reggina in Serie A. Here he was coached by Walter Mazzarri and played 15 league games with 4 goals (Fiorentina, Lazio, Catania, Ascoli again). The Amaranto finished 14th. Meanwhile, for the record, Lazio came 3rd (CL preliminary) and beat Reggina 3-2 in the game Foggia scored.


In 2007-08 he played a year on loan with Cagliari (he was now owned by Lazio). He had a good season in Sardinia despite playing under three different managers; Marco Gianpaolo (1-11), Nedo Sonetti (12-17) and Davide Ballardini (18-38). Foggia played 33 league games with 5 goals (Napoli, Juve x2, Siena, Sampdoria) plus a game in Coppa Italia. "Casteddu" finished 14th.


In 2008-09 he was back at Lazio and had his best season. Under Delio Rossi he played 33 league games with 3 goals (Cagliari, Catania, Lecce) plus 7 games in Coppa Italia. He put on a great performance in the derby with two assists in a 4-2 triumph. Lazio also won the Coppa Italia (Sampdoria on penalties after 1-1 draw) and Foggia played 80 minutes of the final.


In 2009-10 he played less, first under Davide Ballardini (1-24) and then Edy Reja (24-38). He made 16 league appearances, 1 in Coppa Italia, 5 in the Europa League with 2 goals (Salzburg home and away) and was on the bench in the Italian Supercoppa final (2-1 surprise win over Inter in Beijing). The Biancocelesti finished 12th.


In 2010-11, still under Reja, he only played 9 league games and 2 in Coppa Italia. Lazio finished 5th (EL qualification).


In 2011-12 he went to Sampdoria on loan in Serie B. He played first under Gianluca Atzori (1-15) and then Giuseppe Iachini (16-42 + playoffs). Sampdoria finished 6th but were then promoted through the playoffs (Sassuolo 3-2 on aggregate and Varese 4-2 on aggregate). Foggia played 31 league games with 3 goals (Albinoleffe, Ascoli again..., Grosseto) plus 3 games in the playoffs.


In 2012 he came back to Lazio but was excluded from the squad by manager Vladimir Petkovic. He therefore made no appearances at all in any competition.


In 2013 he went for the Arab Emirates experience and joined Dubai Club but the contract was cancelled on August 14 and a day later he signed for Salernitana in Lega Pro 1 (third tier). He played 22 league games with 1 goal and 5 in the Lega Pro Coppa Italia (won by Salernitana beating Monza 2-1 on aggregate). The "Ippocampi" were his last team as he then retired at 31.


Foggia had an international career too. He played 11 games for Italy U-16's (with one goal), 1 game for the U-17's, 7 games for the U-20's, 4 for the U-21's. He also earned 3 full Italian caps with one goal against Northern Ireland in a friendly. His other 2 caps came against Georgia (Euro 2008 qualifiers) and South Africa (friendly).


Since retiring he has stayed in the football world. In January 2017 he was sporting director of Racing Roma (amateurs from Ardea near Rome). In June 2017 he took charge of Benevento's youth sector, a year later he was made sporting director and the "Stregoni" (The Witch Doctors) were promoted to Serie A. In February 2023 he was dismissed along with coach, Fabio Cannavaro, following the club's poor results in Serie B.


He has an amateur football team, ASD Pasquale Foggia, which he founded in 2009 in his hometown of Naples.


Foggia also featured in a film while still playing. In 2011 in a film directed by Nicola Barnaba called "Una cella in due" (Two in a cell).


Foggia was a midfielder. At 1.67 metres tall and 67 kilos he based his game on his agility and speed. He could play both behind the forwards and as a classic winger. He was left footed and extremely talented with exceptional dribbling abilities which he sometimes abused. His nickname for these characteristics was " Il Folletto" (The Leprechaun).


At Lazio he is remembered fondly. He won two trophies, the 2009 Coppa Italia and the 2009 Supercoppa. He will probably be best remembered for his winning goal versus Catania in the dying minutes, but especially for his role in the 4-2 winning derby of 2009. He set up two goals in a game in which all his dribbling repertoire worked to perfection and humiliated the Roma defence. His jovial character and role of dj also helped in celebration time and to keep the team morale up in times of difficulty.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

2006-Jan 2007

12 (1)

11 (1)

1

-

-

2008-09

40 (3)

33 (3)

7

-

-

2009-10

23 (2)

16

1

5 (2)

1

2010-11

11

9

2

-

-

Total

86 (6)

69 (4)

11

5 (2)

1

Sources



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