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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

December 13, 2014: Lazio Atalanta 3-0

Eagles fly high above Dea

Lazio dominate from start to finish and with three second half goals blow away Atalanta

The season so far

The previous season Lazio had finished a poor 9th. They had replaced manager Vladimir Petkovic with Edy Reja after 16 matches, so the honeymoon with the Swiss was over but not his legacy (2013 Coppa Italia triumph).

This season Lazio had a new manager in Stefano Pioli. There had also been several changes to the squad, some major, some minor. The biggest buy for Lazio was Dutch central defender Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord) who had impressed at the recent 2014 World Cup. Other good signings were defender Dušan Basta (Udinese) and midfielder Marco Parolo (Parma). Another new face was Serbian striker Filip Djordjevic (Nantes- end of contract) while local lad Danilo Cataldi was back from a loan period (Crotone).

Sadly, some players left, in particular Giuseppe Biava (end of contract) and André Dias (retired). Other minor movements were mainly in attack: Emiliano Alfaro (Liverpool Montevideo- loan), Brayan Perea (Perugia- loan/ he would return in January) and Hélder Postiga (Valencia-end of loan).

The beginning of the season had been a mixed bag. Lazio had lost three out of the first four matches but then won the next four (Palermo, Sassuolo, Fiorentina, Torino), drawn one (Verona), won one (Cagliari) and then lost the next two (Empoli and Juventus), drawn at Chievo and then in the last match beaten Parma 2-1 away. So, Lazio had won 7, drawn 2 and lost 5, giving them 23 points and 6th position.

Dutch International de Vrij had confirmed to be a class act, Parolo a reliable, solid club player and Djordjevic had scored six goals so far.

In Coppa Italia, Lazio had got through the first round beating Virtus Bassano 7-0. The Biancocelesti had then played Varese at home in December and won 3-0. Next up would be Torino away in January, in the last 16.

Atalanta had finished 11th the previous season under Stefano Colantuono. They had beaten Lazio home and away and top scorer had been Denis "El Tanque" with 13 league goals.

This season Colantuono stayed on. The Nerazzurri's main signings were former Lazio defender Giuseppe Biava (free agent), defenders Nicolò Cherubin (Bologna-on loan), Boukary Dramé (free agent), midfielders Luca Cigarini (Napoli), Alejandro Gómez (Metalist), Leonardo Spinazzola (Juventus-on loan) and former Lazio forward Rolando Bianchi (Bologna-on loan).

Leaving Bergamo were keeper Andrea Consigli (Sassuolo), defenders Davide Brivio (Verona-on loan), Matteo Contini (Bari-on loan), Constantin Nica (Cesena-on loan), Mario Yepes (end of contract), midfielders Franco Brienza (Cesena) and forward Marko Livaja (Rubin Kazan).

Atalanta had four former Lazio players in their squad, defenders Giuseppe Biava, Guglielmo Stendardo and Lionel Scaloni plus forward Rolando Bianchi.

So far in Serie A the "Dea” (The Godess) had won 3, drawn 5 and lost 6. The Bergamaschi were on 14 points, in 14th position.

In Coppa Italia Atalanta had got through two knockout rounds defeating Pisa and Avellino 2-0, both at home. They would now play Fiorentina away, in January, in the last 16.

Lazio were considered favourites today, nine points ahead, playing at home and having shown signs of improvement in their recent away win at Parma. Atalanta too came from a win, 3-2 at home to Cesena, but still looked like a team in difficulty.

The match: Saturday, December 13, 2014, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

There were only 25,000 spectators for this Saturday evening game.

Lazio played with Filip Djordjevic again rather than Miro Klose and had to do without Lucas Biglia while Atalanta on paper looked quite offensive with Bianchi, German Denis and Maxi Moralez up front.

The first half immediately contradicted Atalanta's attacking intentions as they sat back and defended. Lazio were constantly forward but with intelligence and very rarely gave the visitors the possibility to counterattack.

There was not an abundance of chances, but they were almost all for Lazio. A central shot by Felipe Anderson was saved early on, then de Vrij and Stefano Mauri failed to make contact on a dangerous cross by Stefan Radu, Dušan Basta had a shot walled after a good run and Anderson had another shot saved comfortably by Sportiello. Atalanta had a dangerous shot by Bianchi go wide from the edge of the box. The Biancocelesti also had a penalty appeal for a challenge by Stendardo on Anderson but it looked like the former Lazio defender touched the ball before he hit the Brazilian's leg. Halftime Lazio 0 Atalanta 0.

Constant pressure by Lazio who had control of the game but no massive chances yet.

There were no changes at half time but Lazio immediately seemed to have more urgency and sharpness about them.

Atalanta risked to lose a man when Giulio Migliaccio elbowed Radu in the face but the referee deemed it only worthy of a yellow.

In the 51st minute Lazio found a way through and scored. It was Felipe Anderson who set it up with a good burst down the right and a precise low cross which Mauri only had to stretch slightly for to tap into the net. Lazio 1 Atalanta 0. An excellent piece of play by Anderson.

The game opened up but it was Lazio who continued to threaten. Mauri almost got his brace when his low left footed volley, from an unlikely angle, shaved the post.

Atalanta tried to change things by making some substitutions. In the 60th minute Marco D'Alessandro replaced Migliaccio and in the 64th Boukary Dramé came on for Cristiano Del Grosso.

The pattern of the game however continued to be in Lazio's favour and Anderson managed to get an angled low shot in but Marco Sportiello got his finger tips to it and it went out for a corner. Then it was Alvaro Gonzalez who had a low, powerful long-range effort but Sportiello was safe.

The goal was coming and it came in the 71st minute. Anderson found Mauri inside the box on the right and the Lazio captain curled a glorious left footed shot past Sportiello on his far post. Lazio 2 Atalanta 0.

At this point Lazio brought on Balde Keita (who had been warming up for a while) and the Nerazzurri tried Richmond Boakye instead of Bianchi. A few minutes later Klose came on for Djordjevic.

The "Dea" showed no signs of life and Lazio were cruising. In the 81st minute they made it three. Basta went down the right flank and chipped a cross into the middle where Senad Lulic transformed into Klose and twisting his body and diving sent a perfect header past Sportiello. Lazio 3 Atalanta 0.

Atalanta finally had a shot on target but it was a low, long-range strike which Federico Marchetti saved easily. Then it was Keita who almost stole the show, he went on a brilliant solo run dribbling past three defenders in a short space but then saw his shot go just wide. Final score Lazio 3 Atalanta 0.

A game totally dominated by Lazio. They had attacked the whole game, shown patience and once they found the breakthrough had no difficulty whatsoever in winning the game. If anything, they could have won by a wider margin. Standout performances by young Anderson and 35-year-old Mauri. Youth and experience bringing increasing optimism to the Lazio camp.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Berisha, Strakosha, Konko, Novaretti, Onazi, Cataldi

Manager: Pioli

Who played for Atalanta

Sportiello, Benalouane, Stendardo, Cherubin, Del Grosso (64' Dramé), Migliaccio (60' D'Alessandro), Cigarini, Carmona, Moralez, Denis, Bianchi (73' Boakye)

Substitutes: Avramov, Biava, Bellini, Scaloni, Baselli, Grassi, Molina, Gomez, Spinazzola

Manager: Colantuono

Referee: Rocchi

Goals: 51' Mauri, 71' Mauri, 81' Lulic

What happened next

Lazio ended up having an excellent season. The Biancocelesti finished 3rd and qualified for a Champions League preliminary round. At one point, between February 15 and April 12, Lazio won eight consecutive matches.

The roll was interrupted by an away defeat at Juventus. There were more wins (Sampdoria and Parma) but also defeats (Inter and Roma) so the Champions League qualification all went down to the last match, away in Naples.

It was a dramatic match to say the least. Lazio needed a draw to clinch third place while Napoli had to win. The first half ended with the Biancocelesti 2-0 up and seemingly in control with goals by Parolo and Candreva.

The second half was a rollercoaster. In the 55th minute Napoli pulled one back with Higuain. In the 62nd minute Lazio were reduced to ten men when Parolo was shown a red card. In the 64th minute Higuain scored again to make it 2-2.

The Napoli faithful smelt blood and the stadium was on fire, things were not looking good for Lazio. A glimmer of hope came in the 70th minute when Napoli too were forced to play in a man less as Goulam was given his marching orders.

The hope was short lived as in the 76th minute the "Partenopei" were awarded a penalty probably worth about 9 billion Euros. The "Pepita" Higuain stepped up and, to the horror of the locals and relief of the Laziali, blasted the ball over the bar towards Vesuvius.

Lazio regained vigour after being on the brink of disaster. Four minutes after the penalty drama an unlikely hero appeared in the form of Eddy Onazi. In the 80th minute he took advantage of a Napoli mistake and from midfield went straight towards goal and then beat the keeper as he came out. Napoli 2 Lazio 3, an incredible turnaround in the space of a few minutes.

Napoli were distraught and Klose made it 4-2 in the 92nd minute. An incredible night gave Lazio third place and a Champions League preliminary qualification.

The hero of the hour was Nigerian Onazi and the Laziale saying "Onazi è l'unico nazi che ci piace" was never as popular. The saying is obvious lost in translation but is a play on words stating that the Nigerian is the only nazi we like.

So, Lazio finished the season third with 69 points after 21 wins, 6 draws and 11 defeats. Top scorer was Klose with 16 (13 in Serie A).

Lazio also reached the final of Coppa Italia (eliminating Torino, Milan and Napoli on the way) but were then defeated 1-2 by Juventus in extra-time (after Djordjevic had hit a freakish double post).

Alas Lazio would never get into the Champions League group stage as they were defeated 1-3 on aggregate by Bayer Leverkusen in the preliminary the following August.

Atalanta had a poor season and finished 17th. After 25 matches former Lazio Edy Reja took over as manager. The Bergamaschi won 7 (including Milan 1-0 away), drew 16 (incuding Roma away and Lazio at home, both 1-1) and lost 16. Top scorer was Denis with 8 league goals.

In Coppa Italia the Nerazzurri went out in the last 16, losing to Fiorentina 1-3 away.

The Scudetto was won by Juventus for the 31st time while it was B time for Cagliari, Parma and Cesena.

Lazio 2014-15






Goals scored

Serie A






Coppa Italia












Top 5 appearances



Serie A

Coppa Italia













Felipe Anderson




de Vrij




Top five goal scorers



Serie A

Coppa Italia













Felipe Anderson












Let's talk about Rolando Bianchi

Official SS Lazio photo

Rolando Romano Beniamino Bianchi was born in Lovere (Bergamo), on February 15, 1983.

He played his early football, from the age of 10, in the Atalanta academy. He won the Coppa Italia twice with the "Primavera" (U19's). In 2000 he broke into the first team squad and made his debut under Giovanni Vavassori. It would be his only game that season and the Bergamaschi finished 7th.

In 2001-02 he played 3 league games and 1 in Coppa Italia, scoring his first goal against Juventus. Atalanta finished 9th in Serie A. His teammates included future Lazio, Luciano Zauri and Ousmane Dabo.

In 2002-03 he played more, 16 appearances in the league plus the playoff and 1 in Coppa Italia. Atalanta were relegated, losing to Reggina 1-2 in a playoff. The manager was Vavassori until April and then Giancarlo Finardi.

In 2003-04, in Serie B, Andrea Mandorlini was the manager. Bianchi only played 1 league game and in January joined Cagliari in Serie B. For the record the Orobici arrived 5th and were promoted (5 slots plus a playoff between the 6th in B and the 15th in A).

In Cagliari he found Reja as manager again. "Casteddu" finished 2nd so they too got promoted. Bianchi played 14 league games with 2 goals (Ternana, Venezia). His captain was the great Gianfranco Zola.

In 2004-05 he stayed at Cagliari in A. The manager was Daniele Arrigoni and Bianchi played 25 league games with 2 goals (Siena, Reggina) plus 7 games in Coppa Italia with 2 goals. (Triestina, Sampdoria). The Rossoblu finished 12th while in Coppa they reached the semi-finals but lost to Inter 2-4 on aggregate.

In 2005-06 he played for Reggina in Serie A. Walter Mazzarri was manager and the Amaranto finished 13th. Bianchi played 9 league games with 1 goal (Messina). The following season he stayed in Reggio Calabria and played 37 league games with 18 goals (Palermo x3, Cagliari, Parma, Siena, Livorno, Udinese, Empoli, Milan, Messina, Torino x2, Parma x2, Catania, Chievo) plus 3 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal. It was his breakthrough and Reggina finished 14th. His teammates included former and future Lazio, Pasquale Foggia.

His goalscoring explosion earned him a call from Manchester City who he signed for in 2007. The manager was former Lazio, Sven-Goran Eriksson. Bianchi however only stayed until January and played 19 league games with 4 goals, plus 8 in the domestic cups with 2 goals. One of his teammates was Felipe Caicedo. For the record, the Citizens finished 9th.

In January 2008 he joined Lazio on loan. In Rome he found Delio Rossi as manager. He played 15 league games with 4 goals (Reggina, Milan, Parma, Juventus) and 2 games in Coppa Italia. Lazio finished 12th. The highlight was beating Roma 3-2 with a 92nd minute winner in which Bianchi played a key role.

In the summer of 2008, he joined Torino. He stayed with the Granata for five seasons, two in Serie A and three in B. In the first Toro were relegated under Gianni De Biasi, Walter Novellino and then Giancarlo Camolese and Bianchi played 28 league games with 9 goals (Lecce, Chievo, Bologna, Napoli, Inter, Sampdoria, Catania, Siena, Napoli) and 2 games in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Fiorentina). His teammate and goalkeeper was, former Lazio, Matteo Sereni (2003-06).

The next three years were in Serie B, under Stefano Colantuono, Franco Lerda (briefly replaced by Giuseppe Papadopulo) and then in the third year Gian Piero Ventura. Torino finished 5th (lost playoff to Livorno 0-2), 8th and 2nd (promoted to A). In the B years Bianchi played 113 league games (including playoffs) with 53 goals plus 4 games in Coppa Italia with 1 goal.

In 2012-13 back in Serie A, still under Ventura, Bianchi played 32 league games with 11 goals (Pescara, Sampdoria, Atalanta x2, Milan, Genoa, Siena, Cagliari, Bologna, Roma, Catania) plus 1 game in Coppa Italia with 2 goals (Lecce x2). Toro finished 16th.

In the summer of 2013, he left Turin and signed for Bologna in Serie A. The Rossoblu manager was first Stefano Pioli (1-19) and then Davide Ballardini (20-38). The Felsinei were relegated, finishing 19th. Bianchi played 28 league games with 3 goals (Atalanta, Napoli x2) and 1 game in Coppa Italia.

In 2014-15 he went back to Atalanta on loan. The manager was first Stefano Colantuono and then, from the 26th fixture onwards, Edy Reja. The Orobici finished 17th and Bianchi played 21 league games and 3 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Fiorentina). He played alongside former Lazio Giuseppe Biava, Guglielmo Stendardo and Lionel Scaloni.

In 2015 -2016 he went abroad for the second time and joined Mallorca in La Segunda Division. He played 16 league games for the "Piratas" with 2 goals plus 1 game in Copa del Rey but left in January. For the record, the "Bermellones" (The Vermilions) struggled and finished 17th.

In January 2016 he returned to Italy and joined Perugia in Serie B. He played under Pierpaolo Bisoli, making 7 league appearances with 1 goal (Crotone). The "Griffoni" (The Griffins) finished 10th.

The following year he stayed on in Umbria but only until January. He played 14 league games under manager Cristian Bucchi, scoring 1 goal (Ternana) while in Coppa Italia he played 2 games with 3 goals. Perugia eventually came 4th (losing semi-final playoff to Benevento 1-2 on aggregate).

In February 2017 he joined his last club, Pro Vercelli in Serie B. The manager was Moreno Longo and Bianchi played 11 league games with 3 goals (Cesena, Ternana, Verona). The "Leoni" from Piedmont finished 16th. One of his teammates was future Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.

In 2017-18 he started with Pro Vercelli but after only one game in Coppa Italia decided to call it a day at 35.

Bianchi played for Italy at various levels but never won a full cap. He played 2 games for the U17's, 3 games for the U20's with 1 goal and 13 games for the U21's with 7 goals.

Since retiring he has been involved with coaching at youth level. In 2021-22 he started in the Atalanta set up and from 2022 has been in charge of the U18's.

Bianchi was a centre- forward, a classic old number 9. At 1.88 and 81 kilos he was a physical presence in the opposing areas. His best years were with Reggina (he is an honorary citizen of Reggio Calabria) and Torino where he scored 77 goals and won a promotion. He can also claim to have played for Manchester City, who have since become one of the biggest clubs in the world. In total he played 447 professional games with 129 goals.

He was only at Lazio for five months. He contributed with 4 goals but is best remembered for his involvement in the epic 3-2 last gasp victory in 2008. Bianchi participated in the build up to Pandev's equaliser and then earned the penalty which put Lazio 2-1 up when he was pulled down by Juan. Behrami then scored a 92nd minute winner for one of Lazio’s best ever derby wins.

Lazio Career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia


17 (4)

15 (4)




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