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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Lazio's scudetto hopes seemingly shattered in Florence ... again

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Game 30, Serie A

Saturday, April 15, 2000

Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

Fiorentina Lazio 3-3

Spectacular game but deja-vu situation as Lazio fall five points behind Juventus with only four games remaining

A glorious spring day welcomed the 5,000 Lazio faithful to Florence.

After last year's experience Lazio were determined to come out attacking and that is exactly what they did. The Biancocelesti dominated from the word go, showing a clear technical superiority. However in football only goals count and Lazio squandered chance after chance especially with Marcelo Salas.

Lazio were made to pay for their wastefulness in the 25th minute. An Enroco Chiesa cross was headed in by an inexplicably unmarked Gabriel Batistuta. 1-0 Fiorentina, completely out of the blue.

Lazio's response was furious. In two minutes they had two shots with Juan Sebastian Veron, Alen Boksic hit the post and then they equalised. Pavel Nedved latched on to a Paolo Negro through ball, Salas dummied and the Czech beat Toldo. 1-1 and a perfect response by Lazio.

A point was not enough however and the Biancocelesti continued to push forward. In the 31st minute they took the lead. A Sinisa Mihajlovic freekick was headed in by Boksic to make it 2-1.

At this point Lazio were in complete control and only a good dose of luck and Lazio's lack of cynicism kept the "Viola" in it. Halftime Fiorentina 1 Lazio 2 but there was regret for Lazio not having scored more.

Fiorentina made one change in the interval replacing Jorg Heinrich with Andrea Tarozzi. The game pattern remained the same, with Lazio going for the kill. In the 54th minute the "Gigliati" surprised Lazio on the break. The defence was caught off guard and Chiesa slotted in from close range after an assist by Predrag Mijatovic and it was 2-2.

Back to square one for Lazio but they continued to dominate. A Salas header almost put them in the lead again before a series of substitutions on both sides slightly threw them off rhythm.

Lazio's constant pressure was rewarded in the 82nd minute when Nedved was repeatedly fouled by Tomas Repka in the area and a penalty was given. Mihajlovic stepped up but his shot was saved by Toldo (any Dutch readers will remember him…).

All seemed lost but in the 89th minute Lazio were awarded another penalty for a blatant foul by Moreno Torricelli again on Nedved. Mihajlovic, never one to shirk responsibility, presented himself again for the spot kick and this time found the net. Fiorentina 2 Lazio 3 and maybe the Florence curse was a one off ... maybe.

In the 92nd minute the "Viola" equalised with a powerful strike by Batistuta. The Florentines went crazy, there had been a hostile atmosphere the whole afternoon, despite their supposed rivalry with Juventus. Final score Fiorentina 3 Lazio 3.

A draw that was more like a defeat for the Biancocelesti. They had dominated the game but had not taken advantage of their clear superiority (14 corners to nil just one stat) and wasted chance after chance to close out the game. So history seemed to be repeating itself, Lazio's scudetto dream ending in Florence, if Juve won the day after they would be five points ahead with four games remaining. A possibly unassailable lead .... possibly.

Who played for Fiorentina

Toldo, Repka, Padalino, Pierini, Torricelli, Rui Costa (71' Rossitto), Di Livio (73' C.Amoroso), Heinrich (46' Tarozzi), Chiesa, Batistuta, Mijatovic

Substitutes: Taglialatela, Firicano, Okon, Balbo

Manager: Trapattoni

Who played for Lazio

Manager: Eriksson

Referee: Tombolini

Goals: 25' Batistuta, 27’ Nedved, 31' Boksic, 54' Chiesa, 89' Mihajlovic (pen), 92' Batistuta



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