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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Ref relegates Lazio to Conference League

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

2022-23 Season

Europa League Group Stage

Group F, Game 6

Rotterdam, De Kuip Stadium

Feyenoord Lazio 1-0

A controversial decision by the referee condemns Lazio to play in a Conference League playoff.

The teams

Maurizio Sarri opts for his usual turnover and in come Patric, back from injury, Elsaid Hysaj, Toma Basic, Marcos Antonio and Matteo Cancellieri. Sarri was unhappy with the fact that the Dutch Football Federation allowed Feyenoord to rest over the weekend. Certainly an unfair advantage that should have been stopped by UEFA.

Lazio come into the match top of Group F. One point is enough to qualify, three points would obviously be better to avoid a playoff against a third place team from the Champions League groups.

The match

Feyenoord immediately have a chance in the 2nd minute when a Patric fumble gives Danilo the possibility to shoot just inside the box but his attempt goes wide. A minute later another fumble, this time by David Hancko, gives Felipe Anderson the chance to race unmarked towards the goal. His shot is miraculously saved by Justin Bilijow who sends the ball onto the crossbar.

The game is in the balance but it looks as if Lazio have more control. In the 21st minute, Felipe Anderson steals the ball from Hancko on the left and again has a long corridor towards the Dutch goal. Once he is inside the box, he passes the ball to Cancellieri who does not shoot immediately. The youngster stops the ball with his right foot and prepares the shot for his left. Just wide. A minute later, Felipe Anderson on the right to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, wonderful assist for Manuel Lazzari who stops and shoots but Bilijow is perfectly placed. In the 25th minute a shot from outside the box by Igor Paixao is well saved by Ivan Provedel.

Nothing much else happens in the first half. Lazio are controlling the game rather comfortably and it is a pity they have not managed to score.

Second half

Two substitutions during the interval: Adam Marusic for Lazzari and Quilindschy Hartman for Marcos Lopez.

Lazio have another chance in the 55th minute, again with Felipe Anderson and very similar to the earlier one. He flies past the Feyenoord defence and on the left, inside the penalty box, waits just a little too long to shoot, so when he does the goalkeeper saves.

Two more substitutions in the 63rd minute: in come Pedro for Mattia Zaccagni and Santiago Gimenez for Danilo. It will take the Mexican just a minute to score.

Cancellieri loses the ball on the right (Sarri will complain that according to him it was foul), Hartman sees Gimenez in the middle between Patric and Marusic so ball to him. The Mexican, once inside the box, tries to control it with his thigh but the ball slips away from him towards Provedel who is coming out to claim it. In the race towards the ball Gimenez pushes Patric onto the Lazio goalkeeper who then loses the ball, Gimenez avoids Marusic’s last desperate attempt and scores.

This is a foul. But not according to the ref and after a long VAR review the goal is given. Another controversial decision by the referees in Europe against Lazio. This means that the Biancocelesti are now third. They now need to score if they want to stay in the Europa League.

Lazio replace Marcos Antonio and Basic with Danilo Cataldi and Matias Vecino. Feyenoord insist and Orkun Kokcu hits the woodwork with a great shot from outside the box in the 72nd minute.

Lazio are increasingly nervous and the referee does not help especially when Pedro is brought down in the box in the 77th minute. Peljto books the Spaniard for diving but it actually looked like a penalty. Sarri too is booked for complaining that plastic cups full of beer (or worse) are being thrown at the Lazio bench from the stands. Cancellieri gets a yellow card for protesting too much and Sarri substitutes him with Luka Romero.

Lazio just cannot find the opening and the players get more and more frustrated as the clock ticks away. Romero is booked twice and sent off in the dying seconds. The ref blows up despite the fact that in the last ten minutes they can't have effectively played more than a couple.

What now for Group F?

All teams are tied with 8 points so all verdicts are based on goal difference.

With this win Feyenoord are top and go to the round of 16 in Europa Cup. Midtjylland, who beat Sturm Graz, are second and access the playoff against one of the third placed teams from the Champions League Groups. Lazio are relegated to the Conference League and will compete in a playoff, against a second placed group stage Conference League team, to reach the round of 16.

Brief analysis

Lazio’s European campaign was not good and seriously influenced by the heavy defeat in Denmark which complicated everything. But, the referee’s decision to send off Lazzari in the home game against Sturm Graz and tonight’s not to disallow the Feyenoord goal, were the main factors in Lazio’s descent to the European third tier.

Official Lazio photo

Who played for Feyenoord

Bijlow; Geertruida, Trauner, Hancko, Lopez (46' Hartman); Q. Timber (90'+2' Wieffer), Szymanski, Kokcu; Dilrosun, Danilo Pereira (63' Gimenez), Paixao (72' Walemark).

Substitutes: Marciano, Wellenreuther, Pedersen, Bjorkan, Rasmussen, Jahanbakhsh, Benita, Bullaud

Manager: Slot.

Who played for Lazio

Provedel; Lazzari (46' Marusic), Casale, Patric, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Marcos Antonio (67' Cataldi), Basic (67' Vecino); Cancellieri (81' Romero), Felipe Anderson, Zaccagni (63' Pedro).

Substitutes: Maximiano, Magro, Romagnoli, Radu, Gila, Luis Alberto.

Manager: Sarri

Referee: Peljto

Goal: 64' Gimenez

Bookings: Lazzari, Zaccagni, Pedro, Cancellieri, Timber, Gimenez, Marusic, Patric

Sent off: Romero (double yellow card)


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