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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

February 16, 2020: Lazio Inter 2-1

Updated: Feb 16

Lazio power


Marvellous Lazio come from behind to beat Inter and become serious scudetto contenders





The season so far


The previous season Lazio had been disappointing with an 8th place finish but they did win the Coppa Italia beating Atalanta 2-0 in the final.


Simone Inzaghi had been confirmed as manager and the new arrivals were Manuel Lazzari (Spal), Denis Vavro (Copenhagen), Jony (Malaga) and young Bobby Adekanye on a free transfer. Leaving Lazio were Wallace (loan to Braga), Milan Badelj (loan to Fiorentina), Romulo (end of loan so back to Genoa), Bruno Jordão and Pedro Neto (Woverhampton) and Alessandro Murgia (Spal). Dušan Basta had retired.


A slow start for Lazio. Until October Lazio had shown potential but also thrown away points here and there. They were not playing well either. Ciro Immobile was scoring a lot as usual but it was not working. Even the Europa League campaign had started badly.


At the end of the first half in the match at home against Atalanta, Lazio were losing 3-0. The season was practically a write off, and it was only October. But then something triggered in the players’ heads. Lazio managed to draw the game and start a winning streak of eleven consecutive games, including a win in Milan against AC Milan for the first time since 1989, against Juventus and Napoli plus winning the Super Coppa against Juve in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.


A show of strength that Lazio fans had not seen since the early 2000s, that included two 5-1’s against Sampdoria and Spal. Lazio were three points behind leaders Juventus, who were leading but not playing well, and one from Inter. This match was a fundamental step towards a possible incredible scudetto.


The match: Sunday, February 16, 2020 Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Great crowd, great atmosphere and great expectations for this game on both sides. A rather cautious start for both teams, but Lazio broke the stalemate in the 8th minute when a massive shot from outside the box from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic hit the crossbar. In the 19th minute Inter went for the counter attack with Marcelo Brozovic. Great ball for Romelu Lukaku but Thomas Strakosha saved.


A total equilibrium between the teams with Lazio maybe trying a little harder with a couple of shots from Lucas Leiva and Ciro Immobile which were off-target. Everything changed in the 44th minute. Ashley Young sent the ball to the right to Antonio Candreva. The former Lazio players took a couple of steps forward and shot, Strakosha saved but the ball got to Young again who made it 1-0 for Inter. First goal for the Neroazzuri for the Englishman.


Lazio had been behind before in these big games so no problem. The second half started with the Biancocelesti continuing to play as if nothing had happened. After four minutes, penalty for Lazio. Luiz Felipe to Felipe Caicedo in the box. The Ecuadorian passed it back to Luis Alberto who saw Milinkovic-Savic move and crossed for him. Milan Skriniar anticipated both the Serb and his goalkeeper. The ball was in the air and Milinkovic-Savic headed it back to Immobile. As Ciro was about to shoot, Stefan De Vrij pushed him from behind. No doubts for the referee and Immobile scored from the penalty to make it 1-1.


Lazio started pushing but Inter quickly regrouped and the equilibrium was back. But not for long. Corner for Lazio in the 69th minute. Luis Alberto’s cross was picked up by Adam Marusic who promptly volleyed the ball towards the net. Daniele Padelli was beaten but Brozovic saved on the line. Ball to Milinkovic-Savic who had the time to control and clinically place it on the Inter far post. Lazio ahead.


Inter attacked but did not have much success. Lazio almost made it three when a splendid play by Immobile was miraculously saved by Padelli. Inter had a last chance in the 90th minute. Alexis Sanchez to Christian Eriksen who passed to Lukaku. The big Inter centre-forward kicked the ball with all his remaining energy but Francesco Acerbi dived towards it and avoided a dangerous chance. It was the last opportunity in a very, very intense match.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Proto, Guerrieri, Patric, Bastos, Vavvro, J. Lukaku, A. Anderson, Adekanye

Manager: S. Inzaghi


Who played for Inter


Padelli, Godin (86' Sanchez), de Vrij, Skriniar, Candreva (76' Moses), Vecino, Brozovic (76' Eriksen), Barella, Young, R. Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez.

Substitutes: Handanovic, Berni, Stankovic, Bastoni, Ranocchia, D'Ambrosio, Biraghi, Borja Valero.

Manager: Conte.


Referee: Rocchi


Goals: 44’ Young, 50’ Immobile (pen), 69’ Milinkovic-Savic.



What happened next


After this game Lazio went on to win two more games. Triumph was around the corner, but so was Covid and the Campionato was stopped.


When Lazio returned, bad form, injuries and the problem in substituting key players Lucas Leiva and Senad Lulic broke everybody’s dreams.


However, they managed to secure 4th place and Champions League for the 2020-2021 season.


Immobile scored 36 goals in Serie A, equalling the Italian record set by Gonzalo Higuain. This was enough for him to obtain the European Golden Boot.


Lazio 2019-2020

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

38

24

6

8

79

Coppa Italia

2

1

0

1

4

Europa League

6

2

-

4

6

Super Coppa

1

1

-

-

3

Total

47

28

6

13

92

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Acerbi

45

36

2

6

1

Immobile

44

37

2

4

1

Strakosha

44

38

1

4

1

Milinkovic-Savic

43

37

1

4

1

Luis Alberto

41

36

-

4

1

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Immobile

39

36

1

2

-

Correa

10

9

-

1

-

Caicedo

9

9

-

-

-

Milinkovic-Savic

8

7

-

1

-

Luis Alberto

7

6

-

-

1

Let’s talk about: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic



Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the sergeant as the Lazio fans call him, is probably one of the greatest midfielders Lazio have ever had. Even though he is a big man, he is not slow. Very powerful and skilful, he has a great timing that allows him to score many goals.


He was born on February 25 1995 in Lleida, Spain where his father Nikola was playing. He holds both a Spanish and Serbian passport.


He started his career with the youth teams of Vojvodina and played his first professional game on November 23rd 2013 and at the end of the season he won his first trophy: the Serbian Cup.


Even though he did not play much in his first year as pro, he was noticed by Belgian club Genk and in 2014 he began to play in the Belgian first division. Igli Tare’s scouts saw something in this player and a year later he signed for Lazio. It was not an easy signing. Tare had an agreement with his manager but Sergej’s father had one with Fiorentina. The player had given his word to Lazio but Fiorentina insisted and he left for Florence to sign the contract. At the moment of the signature, Milinkovic-Savic backed away. He had dreamt of playing for Lazio, promised to sign for Lazio and wanted to sign for Lazio. He was going to Lazio.


So the Sergeant has been with us since 2015, his first appearance in the Champions League qualification play off against Bayern Leverkusen on August 18. His first goal against Dnipro in Europa League on September 17. He scored the opening goal in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta in 2019.


He has played 341 games for Lazio (267 in Serie A, 23 in Coppa Italia, 8 in Champions League, 38 in Europa League, 3 in Conference League and two Super Coppa finals), scored 69 goals (57 in Serie A, 5 in Coppa Italia and 7 in Europa League) and won three trophies (2 Super Coppas and a Coppa Italia).


Milinkovic-Savic has played 39 times for Serbia and scored 7 goals. He has played in two World Cups, 2018 and 2022 (where he scored one goal), but Serbia have never gone past the group round.


In July 2023, Milinkovic-Savic signed for Al-Hilal, Saudi Arabian club based in Ryad. Apparently President Claudio Lotito offered him a lot of money to stay, but the Saudi club is paying him a salary that will allow his family to live comfortably for generations. Difficult to say no.

The Sergeant is among the best players we have ever had, powerful, skilful, a leader. He will be missed.


Lazio Career

Season

Total played (Goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Conference League

Super Coppa

2015-16

35 (3)

25 (1)

2

1

7 (2)


-

2016-17

39 (7)

34 (4)

5 (3)

-

-


-

2017-18

48 (14)

35 (12)

4

-

8 (2)


1

2018-19

41 (7)

31 (5)

5 (2)

-

5


-

2019-20

43 (8)

37 (7)

1

-

4 (1)


1

2020-21

41 (8)

32 (8)

2

7

-


-

2021-22

47 (11)

37 (11)

2

-

8


-

2022-23

47 (11)

36 (9)

2

-

6 (2)

3


Total

341 (69)

267 (57)

23 (5)

8

38 (7)

3

2

Sources


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