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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

December 23, 2007: Palermo Lazio 2-2

Battle of the Eagles ends in a draw


Despite being 2-0 down, Palermo missing a penalty and the Biancocelesti ending up in nine men, Lazio snatch a precious point




Source Wikipedia

The season so far 


Lazio finished an excellent 3rd the previous season under Delio Rossi, despite a three-point handicap due to Calciopoli and qualified for a Champions League preliminary. Lazio's best result was thrashing Roma 3-0. Top scorer was Tommaso Rocchi with 19 goals (16 in league).

 

This season Rossi was still in his place. The main changes to the squad were in goal as Angelo Peruzzi had retired. The choice was Juan Pablo Carrizo but due to bureaucratic problems he would arrive the following year. This meant the new keeper would be young Uruguayan Fernando Muslera (Nacional). Other signings were defenders Aleksandar Kolarov (OFK Belgrade), Lionel Scaloni (Racing Santander), midfielders Simone Del Nero (Brescia), Mourad Meghni (Bologna) and forward Fabio Vignaroli (free agent). Considering Lazio would hopefully play Champions League football the fans were not happy.

 

Lazio had obviously lost some players too: keeper Matteo Sereni (Torino), defender Manuel Belleri (Atalanta-on loan), midfielders Pasquale Foggia (Cagliari-on loan), Luís Jimenez (Ternana-end of loan) and striker Simone Inzaghi (Atalanta-on loan).

 

The fans thought Lazio had not improved the team and not taken advantage of the Champions League opportunity to strengthen the squad.

 

In Serie A, so far, the fans seemed to be being proved right. Lazio had played 16 games; won 4, drawn 5 and lost 7 (including derby 2-3 and Milan 1-5 at home). The Biancocelesti had 17 points in the table and were in 13th position. Their last league game had been a 2-3 home defeat to Juventus. 

 

Off the field on November 11 disaster struck. The away game to Inter was cancelled and postponed to December 5 following a tragedy involving a Lazio fan. Twenty-six-year-old Gabriele Sandri, on his way to Milan to watch Lazio, had been shot while sleeping in the backseat of a car in a motorway service station. A policeman had shot him from the other side of the motorway mistakenly thinking a robbery was taking place. The other Serie A games were also called off and there were fan protests all over the country. 

 

In Champions League things had initially gone better. Lazio got through the preliminary beating Dinamo Bucharest 4-2 on aggregate. In the group phase however, they only won 1 (Werder Bremen 2-1 at home), drew 2 (Olympiakos 1-1 away and Real Madrid 2-2 at home) and lost 3 (Werder Bremen 1-2 away, Olympiakos 1-2 at home and Real Madrid 1-3 away) and were eliminated.

 

In Coppa Italia their campaign had just started on December 19 and they had won the home leg against Napoli 2-1. The return leg in Naples would be on January 17.

 

Palermo had finished a positive 5th (UEFA Cup) the previous season. Francesco Guidolin had started, been sacked, and then called back again.

 

This season Stefano Colantuono had started as manager but had already been sacked after 13 games and Guidolin was back on the bench. The main new arrivals were: defender Leandro Rinaudo (Siena-back from loan), midfielders Fabio Caserta (Catania), Boško Janković (Mallorca), Giulio Migliaccio (Atalanta) and forward Fabrizio Miccoli (Benfica).

 

Leaving were: midfielder Eugenio Corini (Torino), plus forwards Andrea Caracciolo (Sampdoria) and the previous season's top scorer David Di Michele.

 

After 16 league games the Rosanero had 24 points and were in 7th place. The Sicilian Eagles had won 6 (including Milan and Napoli, both 2-1 at home) drawn 6 and lost 4 (including Juventus 0-5 away which led to the change of manager). The last two had been victories (Fiorentina 2-0 at home and Atalanta 3-1 away).

 

In the UEFA Cup the Rosanero were knocked out in the first round after losing to Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic) on penalties.

 

In Coppa Italia they had recently drawn the first leg 0-0 away to Udinese. The return game would be in Palermo on January 16.

 

Palermo had two world champions in their squad, Cristian Zaccardo and Andrea Barzagli plus future Lazio, Giuseppe Biava and Mark Bresciano.

 

Palermo were favourites today, doing better in the league and playing at home.

 

The match: Sunday, December 23, 2007, Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo


An uncharacteristically cold afternoon brought about 25,000 spectators to the beautifully located ground at the foot of Monte Pellegrino.

 

Lazio came to Sicily with a decimated squad, the Biancocelesti were without injured Luciano Zauri, Valon Behrami, Massimo Mutarelli, Gaby Mudingayi, Stefano Mauri, Mourad Meghni, Roberto Baronio, Guglielmo Stendardo, Ivan Artipoli plus suspended Goran Pandev, almost a potential starting XI.

 

Palermo on the other hand had no such problems and Bresciano, Bosko Jankovic and Marco Pisano could not even find space on the bench. The Rosanero started with a threatening trio of Edison Cavani-Fabrizio Miccoli-Amauri up front.

 

The first phases were all Palermo with the front three combining neatly. Lazio however were balanced tactically and covered the field well. The Rosanero attacked but had difficulty being truly dangerous.

 

In the 22nd minute the hosts were forced to replace an injured Giulio Migliaccio with Fabio Caserta in midfield after a dirty foul by Fabio Firmani.

 

Palermo's pressure was interrupted in the 26th minute when a Firmani close range shot was saved by Federico Agliardi. Then the Rosaneri piled forward again and took the lead in the 34th minute. A Miccoli freekick from the right into the area was headed in by Fabio Simplicio. Palermo 1 Lazio 0.

 

Lazio reacted and had two shots just over the bar, first with Stephen Makinwa and then Aleksandar Kolarov. The first half ended with a bit of friction with Vignaroli threatening Ciro Capuano for not having put the ball out when he had been down injured. Halftime score Palermo 1 Lazio 0. All in all, a deserved lead for the Sicilian Eagles.

 

The second half had barely started when Palermo scored again. In the 46th minute an assist by Miccoli put Amauri one-on-one with Marco Ballotta, the Brazilian made no mistake with a cool, left-footed lob. Palermo 2 Lazio 0. The worst possible re-start for Lazio, things were looking grim.

 

Miccoli then almost made it three but Ballotta saved in two attempts. 

 

Lazio tried to change things making two substitutions, in the 56th minute Igli Tare replaced Makinwa and in the 59th Simone Del Nero came on for Fabio Vignaroli.

 

Following the second replacement Lazio immediately pulled one back. Firmani found himself unmarked in the area on a Kolarov assist and beat Agliardi with a low right foot. Palermo 2 Lazio 1.

 

At this point Palermo concentrated on maintaining the lead and their midfield dropped back at least 15-20 metres. In the 69th minute Guidolin took off forward Cavani and put on another defensive midfielder Aimo Diana.

 

In the 75th minute came a key episode in the match. Sebastiano Siviglia fouled Amauri in the area on a goal scoring opportunity, red card for the defender and penalty to Palermo. Amauri stepped up to virtually close the game but fired his shot over the bar. A lifeline for Lazio but still with a mountain to climb.

 

In the 77th minute Rossi played his last card throwing on Lionel Scaloni for Christian Manfredini.

 

Four minutes later Lazio, despite the numerical inferiority, managed to equalise. Lorenzo De Silvestri powered down the right and squared to Tare in the middle, the Albanian’s low left foot went in near the post. Palermo 2 Lazio 2. An extraordinary turnaround in events.

 

Palermo were in shock and could not get a winner even when Lazio remained in 9 men. In the 89th minute De Silvestri was sent off for a second yellow and the referee then gave three minutes of injury time. The Lazio defence however stood firm and brought back an extremely welcome point back to Rome. Final score Palermo 2 Lazio 2.

 

Palermo were extremely disappointed about not closing out the match but Lazio had battled hard and never given up, in what at times looked like a certain defeat.

 

Who played for Palermo 


Agliardi, Zaccardo, Biava, Barzagli, Capuano, Guana, Migliaccio (25' Caserta), Simplicio (92' Brienza), Cavani (69' Diana), Miccoli, Amauri

Substitutes: Ujkani, Tedesco, Cassani, Rinaudo

Manager: Guidolin

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Substitutes: Muslera, Cinelli, Casini, Faraoni

Manager: Rossi

 

Referee: Orsato


Goals: 34' Simplicio, 46' Amauri, 59' Firmani, 81' Tare



What happened next 


Lazio finished 12th. The Biancocelesti won 11, drew 13 and lost 14, so a mediocre season. The highlight in the league came on March 19 when a Valon Behrami 92nd minute winner gave Lazio a 3-2 derby win. The top scorers were Tommaso Rocchi and Goran Pandev with 19 (both 14 in A).

 

In Coppa Italia the Bianconeri knocked out Napoli and Fiorentina but then lost 0-2 on aggregate to Inter in the semi-final.

 

So, a season with the excitement of Champions League and playing Real Madrid plus an epic derby win but not much else.

 

Palermo finished 11th. On March 22, after a 2-3 home defeat to Genoa, Guidolin was sacked and replaced by original manager Colantuono. In the end Palermo won 12 (including Lazio 2-1 and Juventus 3-2), drew 11 and lost 15. Top scorer was Amauri with 15 league goals. 

 

In Coppa Italia the Palermitani lost the return match 0-1 to Udinese and crashed out.

 

The Scudetto was won by Inter for their 16th title. The three clubs saying goodbye for now were Parma, Empoli and Livorno.


Lazio 2007-08

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

11

13

14

47

Coppa Italia

6

3

2

1

7

Champions League

8

2

3

3

12

Total

52

16

18

18

66

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Rocchi

48

36

4

8

Pandev

44

32

5

7

Ledesma

43

32

4

7

Cribari

42

31

5

6

Ballotta

39

29

2

8

Top goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Rocchi

19

14

1

4

Pandev

19

14

-

5

Bianchi

4

4

-

-

Let's talk about Igli Tare


Official SS Lazio photo

Igli Tare was born on July 25, 1973, in Valona, Albania. He started his football career with Partizani Tirana playing in the youth sector and reaching the A team where he debuted professionally in 1993. In 1994 he signed for Waldhof Mannheim in the Bundesliga 2. After a year he moved down to the fifth tier and played for Ludwigshafen. In 1996 Tare signed for Karlsruhe, in the top Bundesliga, but he played very little and after six months he was sent to the B team.

 

In the 1997-98 season Tare finally got his breakthrough at Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German second tier. He played 66 games in two years and scored 27 goals. This attracted the interest of Kaiserslautern, in the top flight, who signed him in 1999. In his first year he played 28 games but only scored 5 goals. Not that great if you are a centre-forward. As a consequence, the following year he made only ten appearances (2 goals) in half a season.

 

In January 2001 he signed for Brescia. Everybody was sceptical at first but he proved to be an ideal partner for Roberto Baggio and ended up playing and scoring more than the internal competition, Luca Toni. He stayed in Lombardy for two and a half years, appeared in 75 games and scored 15 goals under manager Carlo Mazzone, becoming a fan favourite.

 

In 2003 Mazzone moved to Bologna and Tare followed him. Here too he became a fan favourite, not for his goal scoring abilities – 12 goals in 57 games over two seasons – but for his strong attachment to the club. In his last year, Bologna were relegated to Serie B.

 

In 2005 he moved to Rome and signed for Lazio. He was used as an alternative to the attacking duo Tommaso Rocchi-Goran Pandev as he was a more physical player. He did not play much, 65 appearances in three years, and he scored even less, just 5 goals, but his knowledge of several languages and his leadership qualities in the changing rooms gave President Claudio Lotito an idea.

 

At International level Tare played 68 games for Albania and scored 10 goals.

 

Sports Director

 

At the end of the 2007-08 season, he quit football and initially became a coordinator for Lazio and then, in 2009 once he passed his exams, sports director. Lotito was looking to replace Walter Sabatini and thought that Tare would be ideal. The Albanian was not convinced at first, but later accepted.

 

In the early years Lazio were probably one of the most successful clubs in the signing of players with a poor CV and then increasing their value. Tare never had much of a budget and he did what he could with the little he had. Over the years he managed to buy important players such as Hernanes, Miro Klose (as a free agent) and Lucas Leiva (for a very low fee), discovered Felipe Anderson, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto, just to name a few, and gave new life to Ciro Immobile who has become Lazio's greatest goal scorer in history.

 

In later years however there were mistakes on players that looked like they had a pedigree but, in the end, did not. He also had clashes with managers, since he did not always follow what they asked for as far as transfers were concerned. His management of the primavera team was appalling, always looking for talented young teenagers but in the end never really finding them. Along with all the players who did arrive there were also the ones that slipped away: Keisuke Honda, Burak Yilmaz and David Silva to name a few.

 

Goodbye

 

Tare’s contract ended in the summer of 2023. Rumours had stressed how he and manager Maurizio Sarri did not get along and often had very different points of view. Since Lotito had invested a lot in Sarri and wanted to take Lazio to a more professional level with the Tuscan coach, it was time for Tare to go. His contract was therefore not renewed.

 

Tare is highly respected outside Rome’s ring road. In 2019 apparently, he was offered a lot of money to go to AC Milan but stayed on. He will certainly not remain unemployed for long.

Igli Tare has been bitterly hated by a fair number of Lazio fans over the years. But one must also remember all the good players that have come to the club and not just the bad ones. Furthermore, he contributed to bringing a lot of silverware to Rome (the Coppa Italia three times and the Super Coppa three times), and there is no doubt that his loyalty was always with the club and the Lazio colours.

 

This is what he declared to the Italian state-owned TV:

 

“After 18 years my wonderful experience as sports director of S.S. Lazio will end. I made this choice some time ago, but I waited until Lazio reached the Champions League objective, aware that I've built a strong team, with extraordinary players chosen to achieve this goal. It was a long and intense adventure made of joys, defeats and trophies. I will never stop thanking President Lotito for the opportunity he gave me, the Biancocelesti fans who have entered my heart, the club with all its members, the players, the staff and all those who have been close to me on this journey. Special thanks especially to my family who have always been by my side. A prestigious opportunity which I had both as a footballer and as a director and which I will never forget, taking every single moment of this experience with me. With the hope that each of you will continue to jealously safeguard this beautiful reality with the same passion I did. Sempre Forza Lazio".


Thank you Igli. He left Lazio in a good place, the Champions League.


Lazio Career

Season

Total played (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Intertoto Cup

2005-06

24 (3)

22 (3)

-

-

2

2006-07

15

14

1

-

-

2007-08

26 (2)

18 (1)

6 (1)

2

-

Total

65 (5)

54 (4)

7 (1)

2

2

Sources


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