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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

December 1, 2002: Piacenza Lazio 2-3


Lazio win with great comeback, or so they say…


In a game heavily affected by thick fog Lazio recover from a two-goal deficit and win 3-2 in the last seconds





The season so far


This was Lazio's first season without homegrown and possibly best defender in the world Alessandro Nesta. Due to financial difficulties Lazio had been forced to sell their captain to Milan. To make matters worse Milan and Juventus had secretly agreed to keep their bids low, so Lazio were also forced to sell Hernán Crespo to Inter.

 

Fortunately, Lazio had a new manager. The disappointing Alberto Zaccheroni had been replaced by former player and scudetto winner Roberto Mancini.

 

Mancini found quite a different squad from the one he had left as a player only two years earlier. No more Nedved, Veron, Salas, Boksic and obviously Nesta.

 

From the previous season Lazio had also let go of midfielders Ivan de la Peña (Espanyol), Gaizka Mendieta (Barcelona - loan) and Karel Poborský (Sparta Prague).

 

Joining Mancini’s Lazio were defender Massimo Oddo (Verona), forwards Enrico Chiesa (Fiorentina) and Bernardo Corradi (Inter). In the Autumn session midfielder Nikola Lazetić had been added (Como- loan).

 

The season had started well for Lazio. They had played 11 games, won 7 (5 away), drawn 3 (including derby 2-2) and lost 1 (Chievo 2-3 at home). Lazio had 24 points and were in a healthy 3rd place.

 

In the UEFA Cup had got through the first two rounds (Skoda Xanthi 4-0 and Red Star Belgrade 2-1 on aggregate). In the first leg of the 3rd round Lazio had recently beaten Sturm Graz 3-1 away; the return game was on December 12.

 

In Coppa Italia Lazio would enter the tournament in December against Empoli.

 

Today's opponents, Piacenza, had finished 12th in Serie A the previous season, under manager Walter Novellino. They had beaten both Roma and Lazio once and top scorer was Dario Hubner with 24 league goals. 

 

This season the manager was former Lazio player Andrea Agostinelli. The "Papaveri" (The Poppies) were struggling and had only won 2 (Udinese, Torino), drawn 2 (including Roma 1-1 at home) and lost 7. Piacenza were on 8 points, the good news for them was that one of their wins had come a week earlier, 1-0 at home to Torino.

 

In Coppa Italia "Il Piace" had got through the first round beating Ternana 3-1 on aggregate. They would now play Chievo in December.

 

Lazio were hoping to win their 6th consecutive away game while Piacenza trying to consolidate on their last positive performance. 

 

The match: Sunday, December 1, 2002, Stadio Leonardo Garilli, Piacenza


A grey, foggy day in the Po Valley and a sparse crowd at the Garilli.

 

Lazio were without César who had gone back to Brazil for family issues while Piacenza too were missing Dario Hubner and Johnnier Montano plus Gianluca Lamacchi and Vittorio Tosto suspended. Lazio replaced the Brazilian with Argentine Sorin while Nicola Boselli and Sergey Gurenko played in midfield for Piacenza and Nicola Caccia -Mauro Obolo up front.

 

There was a low fog in Piacenza but the match went ahead and the conditions were just about acceptable, for now.

 

Lazio started strongly and pushed forward, forcing three corners in the first ten minutes. Claudio Lopez looked particularly lively.

 

In the 18th minute however the home side, against the run of play, took the lead. Enzo Maresca tried his luck from more than 25 metre out, the shot did not look particularly dangerous but Angelo Peruzzi was hesitant, maybe due to the visibility, and dived too late and the ball went in at mid-height off the post. Piacenza 1 Lazio 0.

 

Lazio took control again but in the 27th minute the Biancorossi made it two. This time it was Obolo who got past Fernando Couto and beat Peruzzi with a shot which did not seem unstoppable. Piacenza 2 Lazio 0.

 

In the 29th minute Sinisa Mihajlovic was forced off with neck problems, on came Giuseppe Pancaro and Jaap Stam went into the middle.

 

At this point the fog thickened but Lazio saw the light with a Diego Simeone header, from a Lopez corner, in the 42nd minute. The Lazio fans at the other end only realised "El Cholo" had scored when they saw him emerge from the fog celebrating. Piacenza 2 Lazio 1.

 

In the 46th minute Lazio equalised. Dejan Stankovic went down the right and put in a low cross, it was met by Lopez who turned a struck a left-footed shot past Guardalben. Piacenza 2 Lazio 2.

 

A strange game, if only for the climatic conditions, making it extremely difficult for the fans and TV viewers at home to see what exactly was going on. The TV angles were from the touchline and the linesmen had to go onto the pitch to get a better view. It seemed likely the game would be postponed.

 

After the break came two surprises, one more so than the other. The biggest surprise was that the game would go on, as the fog had lifted slightly. The other was that Peruzzi was being replaced by Emanuele Concetti. The "Cinghialone" (The Wild Boar) had stomach problems and this explained his unusually poor performance.

 

The clearer visibility lasted about ten minutes then a thick fog again descended on the Garilli but the game continued. The second half saw Lazio increasingly push for a third goal. Again, they forced a long series of corners (they would be 16 in the end) and had several chances.

 

In the 65th minute Lopez hit the post with a cracking left foot, a few minutes later Corradi scored but Sorin was in offside and the goal was disallowed then Stefano Fiore missed from close range.

 

In the 80th minute Lazio put on another striker, Simone Inzaghi, for midfielder Sorin. Piacenza responded in the same minute replacing an excellent Maresca with former Lazio Dario Marcolin. The home side had already substituted Obolo with Francesco Zerbini in the 56th minute but he then got injured and was replaced by Salvatore Miceli in the 71st minute.

 

In the last ten minutes Lazio, with Lopez pushing on the wing and two strikers in the area, pegged Piacenza into their own area. In the 92nd minute the Biancocelesti were rewarded. After a corner, Stankovic regained the ball and put in another cross from the left and out of the white blur came Corradi's head putting the ball past Guardalben. This time it was under the Lazio fans so maybe they saw something, at least Corradi running towards them arms outstretched. Nobody really cared what they saw, the important thing was that Lazio had scored. Piacenza 2 Lazio 3.

 

The referee had only given two minutes of injury time so that was basically it. Final score Piacenza 2 Lazio 3.

 

A remarkable turnaround in ridiculous weather conditions. Lazio were now top of the table, a completely unexpected and fantastic feeling.

 

A final anecdote. The Piacenza manager Agostinelli played for Lazio for many years and is still based in Rome. His neighbour is actually Bernardo Corradi, today's last gasp match winner. No dinner invites for a while between the two.

 

Who played for Piacenza 


Guardalben, Cardone, Boselli, Mangone, Cristante, Riccio, Maresca (80' Marcolin), Di Francesco, Gurenko, Obolo (56' Zerbini, 71' Miceli), Caccia

Substitutes: Abbate, Campagnaro, Stella

Manager: Agostinelli

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Negro, Liverani, D. Baggio, Chiesa

Manager: Mancini 

 

Referee: Farina


Goals: 18' Maresca, 27' Caccia, 42' Simeone, 45' C. Lopez, 92' Corradi



 

What happened next 


Lazio had a very good season. The Biancocelesti finished 4th in Serie A (Champions League preliminary). They won 15 (including Juventus away 2-1), drew 15 (including return derby 1-1) and only lost 4 games. Top scorer was Claudio López with 17 goals (15 in A).

 

Lazio would then get into the Champions League proper in August defeating Benfica 4-1 on aggregate. 

 

Lazio reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. They eliminated Sturm Graz, Wisla Krakow and Beşiktaş but ultimately fell to eventual winners Porto 1-4 on aggregate. 

 

In Coppa Italia Lazio also reached the semi-final but lost to city rivals Roma,1-3 on aggregate. Roma then lost the final to Milan, 1-4 in Rome.

 

Piacenza ended up getting relegated. They changed managers after 19 games from Agostinelli to Luigi Cagni but finished 16th. The "Lupi" won 8 (including Milan 4-2), drew 6 and lost 20 (including Lazio 1-2). Their top scorer was Hübner with 15 goals (14 in A).

 

In Coppa Italia the Biancorossi were eliminated in the last 16 by Chievo on away goals.

 

Piacenza have not been back in Serie A since and are now languishing in Serie D

 

The Scudetto was won by Juventus for the 27th time. Not a good year for some other northern teams as Torino, Piacenza, Como and Atalanta slumped down to Serie B.


Lazio 2002-03

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

15

15

4

57

Coppa Italia

6

3

1

2

7

UEFA Cup

12

6

4

2

18

Total

52

24

20

8

82

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Lopez

47

34

4

9

Fiore

46

33

5

8

Stankovic

38

29

2

7

Cesar

36

26

1

9

Corradi

36

32

4

-

Peruzzi

36

30

-

6

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Lopez

17

15

-

2

Corradi

10

10

-

-

Fiore

9

6

1

2

S. Inzaghi

9

4

1

4

Simeone

7

7

-

-

Chiesa

7

2

1

4

Let’s talk about: Juan Pablo Sorín


Juan Pablo Sorín was born in Buenos Aires, on May 5, 1976.

 

At nine he entered the Argentinos Juniors youth set up and nine years later made his first team debut for the "Bichos Colorados" (The Red Ants). In 1994-95 he played 20 league games and scored 1 goal but Argentinos Juniors were struggling and were no longer the team that had triumphed in the Coppa Libertadores ten years earlier.

 

In 1995-96 he came to Europe and joined Juventus. The manager was Marcello Lippi and Sorin only played 2 league games, 2 in Coppa Italia and one in Champions League. The Bianconeri won the Champions League beating Ajax on penalties in Rome and the Italian Supercoppa (Parma 1-0) but finished 2nd in Serie A. His teammates included Angelo Peruzzi, Attilio Lombardo, Vladimir Jugovic and Fabrizio Ravanelli, all future Lazio players.

 

In 1996-97 he returned to Argentina and joined River Plate. He stayed four seasons with the "Millonarios" and played 78 league games with 11 goals. "La Banda" won 4 league titles and his manager was Ramón Díaz. They reached the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores twice and won it in 1996. The "Banda" also won the South-American Supercup in 1997.

 

In 2000 he joined Cruzeiro in Brazil where he stayed two seasons, playing 29 league games and scoring 3 goals. The "Raposa" (The Fox) won two Copa Sul- Minas and one Copa do Brasil.

 

In 2002 he returned to Europe and joined Lazio on loan. The manager was Roberto Mancini and Lazio had a good season finishing 4th (CL). Sorin however only played 6 league games and left in January for Barcelona on loan.

 

In Cataluña he played more, 15 league games and scored 1 goal (Celta Vigo), under managers Louis Van Gaal, Antonio de la Cruz and then Radomir Antić. The "Blaugrana" finished a disappointing 6th. In the squad were former Lazio, Gaizka Mendieta and future Lazio, Óscar López. 

 

In 2003 he moved to Paris and joined P.S.G on loan. This was before the "Parisiens" became one of the richest clubs in the world but they won the Coupe de France (Châteauroux 1-0) and finished 2nd in Ligue 1 (behind Olympique Lyonnais). The manager was Bosnian Vahid Halilhodžić and Sorin played 21 league games with 1 goal.

 

In 2004 he returned to Cruzeiro but only played 6 league games before returning to Europe. He joined Villareal and the "Submarino Amarillo" (The Yellow Submarine) had a good season finishing 3rd in the Liga and reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup (AZ Alkmaar 2-3 on aggregate). The manager was Manuel Pellegrini and Sorin played 21 league games with 4 goals.

 

In 2005-06 he stayed on in south-east Spain and Villareal finished 6th but reached a historic Champions League semi-final, losing to Arsenal 0-1 on aggregate. Sorin played 20 league games with 3 goals.

 

In 2006 Sorin left Spain and moved to Germany and SV Hamburger in the Bundesliga. The Hanseatic club had former Lazio player Thomas Doll as a manager and then, from February, Dutchman Huub Stevens and finished 7th. Sorin played 19 league games and scored 4 goals (Enegie Cottbus, Mainz and Alemania Aachen x2).

 

The following year he stayed with the "Dinasaurier" (Dinosaurs) but played less, only 5 league games. Hamburg finished 4th and won the Intertoto Cup (then reached last 16 in UEFA Cup). Some interesting teammates included Vincent Kompany, Jérôme Boateng, Nigel de Jong, Rafael Van der Vaart, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Paulo Guerrero and Ivica Olić.

 

In 2008 Sorin then returned to Brazil and Cruzeiro but in two years only played one league game before retiring at 33.

 

Sorin had a good international career, winning 75 caps for Argentina and scoring 11 goals (Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Uraguay, Angola). He played in two World Cups, 2002 and 2006 and two Copa de America. He won an U20 World Cup in 1995, the Pan-American games in 1995, a silver medal at the 2004 Copa America and a silver medal in the 2005 Confederations Cup.

 

Sorin was a left full-back but was versatile and could also play further forward due to his technical skills. He is 1.73 and 68 kilos so not a particularly physical player but he was extremely dynamic. He was considered a bit undisciplined tactically often preferring to attack rather than defend. He played 256 club games and played for prestigious clubs such as Argentinos Juniors (Maradona's first club) River Plate, Juventus, Cruzeiro, Lazio, Barcelona, P.S.G, Villareal and SV Hamburger.

 

At Lazio he only stayed a few months and did not really leave a mark. He made a negative debut in a home defeat to Chievo and never imposed himself after that, only playing here and there. At Lazio he was weak defensively in his brief spell and was usually left out in favour of César or Favalli in a defence that included Stam, Mihajlovic, Pancaro, Oddo, Negro and Colonnese, tough competition. Sorin at Lazio could be summed up as a big name but a big disappointment although in a brief period.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

2002-03

11

6

1

4

Sources


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