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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

January 10, 2021: Parma Lazio 0-2

Updated: Jan 10

Lazio too strong for Parma


Lazio beat Parma but it was not as easy as it seemed.





The season so far


The season was characterised by great games, on par with the previous season, and matches where Lazio were completely absent. So often the team would make three steps forward one week and two back the week after. And these steps back were often against “weaker teams”.


And it was pity. Lazio started off OK against Cagliari only to fall at home against Atalanta. After drawing with Inter at home, they lost 3-0 to struggling Sampdoria. Then, after three wins and a draw against Juventus, a loss against Udinese who completely outplayed Lazio. After a difficult win against Spezia, home loss against Verona, a draw at Benevento after missing numerous chances, and then a win against Napoli, something that had not happened for some time. They then lost against Milan in the last minute and then another dismal performance against Genoa who should have been slaughtered but Lazio again missed their chances, opened the gates and allowed the opposition to draw. In the game before Parma Lazio beat Fiorentina.


As you can see, it is difficult to imagine Lazio in a fourth place position if they did not solve their problems.


Why are there problems? There were probably four reasons.


Lazio for the first time in many many years were in Champions League. And despite being teamed with Borussia Dortmund they almost got first place. The ended up second and would now have to face Bayern Munich. This however sapped some of the strength out of the team.


The second problem was that the players purchased in the summer were not doing well and the much-needed reinforcements came in areas where there was no need (€20 million for Vedat Muriqi) instead of where they were desperately needed (defence).


Simone Inzaghi was making many mistakes. He chose Mohamed Fares and the return of Wesley Hoedt in the transfer window and they were just not good enough; he kept on insisting to play Joaquin Correa who was the shadow of the previous season’s player; kept Luis Alberto on the pitch for 90 minutes on his off days and substituted him early in the second half on his good days; had problems in reading the games and therefore often blundered substitutions. The management of Thomas Strakosha was also terrible and ruined not only the player but also his relationship with the club.


The last problem was Covid. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Lazio had lost themselves. Before Covid they were on top of their game, since, they were struggling.


The match: Sunday, January 10, 2021, Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma


This should have been an easy game for Lazio. Parma had just changed manager with Roberto D’Aversa taking the place of Fabio Liverani, but one could see right from the beginning of the season that there would a need for more than a miracle for Parma to stay in Serie A.


After a slow beginning, it was Parma who had the first chance of the game. In the 7th minute Simon Sohm found himself in the perfect position after a deflection but his shot reached Sicily.


In the 14th minute Felipe Caicedo’s shot was just wide and ten minutes later, Pepe Reina made probably one of the biggest saves of his career. Jasmin Kurtic crossed the ball into the Lazio penalty box, Andrea Cornelius beat Adam Marusic and headed the ball towards the goal. It looked like it was going in but Reina managed jump back and get a hand to it.


Did this scare wake Lazio up? Yes. Lazio increased pressure and had quite a number of chances. In the 30th minute Caicedo was ready to score but Luigi Sepe miraculously saved. Eight minutes later Ciro Immobile’s shot was just over the cross bar. Caicedo again had the chance for 1-0 in the 43rd minute but his header was wide.


In the second half Lazio began slowly but now the pace was much faster and Parma were in difficulty. In the 48th minute Immobile dribbled the goalkeeper but in doing so the ball went too far and he could not shoot. Five minutes later Francesco Acerbi had an open goal chance but kicked it wide.


The Biancocelesti finally managed to score a minute later. On the counter attack, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic passed the ball to Manuel Lazzari on the right. His low cross was met at the centre of the penalty box by Luis Alberto who had no problem in making it 1-0 for Lazio.


It should have been two for Lazio five minutes later but Luis Alberto all alone in front of the goalkeeper put it wide. No problem, the 2-0 was coming and it was spectacular. Just as if the team were playing with their play station, in the 67th minute Milinkovic-Savic asked Immobile for a one-two, the ball came back to the Serb into the penalty box, the Sergeant lobbed it over the goalkeeper and Caicedo tapped it in.


Nothing more happened in the game and Lazio brought home three points. Next match: the derby!!!!


Who played for Parma


Sepe, Busi, Alves, Osorio (46' Ricci), Valenti (34' Balogh), Sohm (75' Mihaila), Brugman (63' Inglese), Hernani; Kurtic, Cornelius, Gervinho.

Substitutes: Colombi, Rinaldi, Pezzella, Dezi, Cyprien, Brunetta, Camara, Sprocati.

Manager: De Zerbi


Who played for Lazio


Reina, Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Radu, Lazzari (84’ Patric), Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva (70’ Cataldi), Luis Alberto (64’ Akpa Akpro), Marusic (84’ D. Anderson), Immobile, Caicedo (70’ Andreas Pereira)

Substitutes: Alia, Furnaletto, Armini, Hoedt, Escalante, Parolo, Muriqui

Manager: S. Inzaghi


Referee: Pairetto


Goals: 55' Luis Alberto, 67' Caicedo.




What happened next


Lazio improved once they were out of the Champions League. Bayern Munich were on another planet and demolished us. Out early also in Coppa Italia, there was only the Campionato to concentrate on.


Lazio comfortably beat Roma 3-0 the week after this match and made it six wins on the trot (including beating Atalanta in Bergamo) before falling to Inter. However, an unjustifiable loss at Bologna in February took them back to were they started. Another five consecutive wins allowed the Biancocelesti to fight for 4th place before being shattered 5-2 by Napoli.


There was still hope after beating Milan at home for 3-0 but another black out against Fiorentina and a dismal performance against Roma was the nail in the coffin as far as Champions League qualification went. At least Lazio qualified for Europa League.


The player with most appearances this season was Marusic with 46 games and the top scorer was obviously Immobile with 25 goals.


Lazio 2020-21

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

21

5

12

61

Coppa Italia

2

1

-

1

4

Champions League

8

2

4

2

13

Total

48

24

9

15

78

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Marusic

46

36

2

8

42

32

2

8

Akpa-Akbro

42

32

2

8

Immobile

41

35

1

5

Milinkovic-Savic

41

32

2

7

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Immobile

25

20

-

5

Correa

11

8

-

3

9

9

-

-

9

8

-

1

Milinkovic-Savic

8

8

-

-


Let’s talk about Pepe Reina


Jose Manuel Reina Paez was born in Madrid on August 31 1982. Son of a former Barcelona goalkeeper, Miguel Reina, he started his football career in the youth team of Barcelona and played three times for the Barca C side in 1998-99 in the Spanish third division. The next year he was the regular goalkeeper of the B side.


In 2001-02 he started playing part time also for the A side, particularly in Copa del Rey, but he was less used in the subsequent year and at the end of the season he was loaned to Villareal. He would stay there for three seasons, twice winning the Intertoto Cup.


In 2005-06 he moved to Liverpool and stayed there for eight years. With the reds he won a UEFA Super Cup, a League Cup, an FA Cup and a Community Shield and gained legendary status at the club.


In 2013, Livepool loaned him to Napoli for a season where he found his former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. That season he won the Coppa Italia. After his Neapolitan parenthesis he was sold to Bayern Munich with the idea that he would be Bayern’s second goalkeeper. The problem that season for Reina was that Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer played all of the games since he is a fundamental piece of the German side’s team. This meant that Pepe played only three games in the whole season. Despite winning the Bundesliga, Reina wanted to play more so he moved back to Napoli, this time on a definite transfer.


He second stint at Napoli lasted three years. When his contract expired in 2018 he decided not to renew and joined Milan as second goalkeeper. In January 2020 he signed for Aston Villa on loan to the end of the season, played most of the remaining games and contributed significantly in keeping the Birmingham team in the Premiership.


In August 2020 Reina joined Lazio. The Biancocelesti were looking for a goalkeeper of experience that could help Thomas Strakosha but also serve as a solid alternative. When Strakosha got injured, Reina took his place and stayed as number one for the rest of the season. Inzaghi liked the fact that Reina was good with his feet and could actually start play from the back. However, Reina was not as good between the posts, despite some incredible saves like the one against Parma.


When Maurizio Sarri became the new manager, Reina was confirmed in goal, but Pepe was letting in too many saveable goals and lost his place in the team.


Pepe Reina was part of the National squad that won three trophies for Spain in four years. He was the second goalkeeper in the 2008 Euros held in Austria and Switzerland, won by Spain against Germany, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa won against The Netherlands and the 2012 Euros held in Poland and Ukraine, where Spain beat Italy in the final. He was also part of the squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He played 36 times for Spain, including one game in Euro 2008 and one in the 2014 World Cup.


Reina is very good with his feet and this is his main quality. He has good reflexes and has saved many penalties. However, he is prone to mistakes and in later years has not been as “explosive”. A low shot in the corner was his Achilles Heel, especially in the Lazio years.


He played 54 games for Lazio (44 in Serie A, 3 in Coppa Italia and 7 in Champions League).


He had a two-year contract plus a possible extra year if Lazio qualified for Europe. Lazio did qualify, but Reina decided against renewing and went back to Villareal.


Appearances for Lazio

Season

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

2020-21

37

29

1

7

2021-22

17

15

2

-

Total

54

44

3

7

Source


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