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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

January 21, 2018: Lazio Chievo Verona 5-1

Updated: Apr 16

Payback time


After several disappointment, Lazio record a rare but big home win against Chievo




Official SS Lazio photo

The season so far


Lazio had finished 5th (EL) the previous season under Simone Inzaghi. The Biancocelesti had lost the first derby but triumphed 3-1 in the second. Other good results were Atalanta 4-3, Pescara 6-2 both away and Sampdoria 7-3 and Palermo 6-2, both at home. Lazio had also reached the Coppa Italia final beating Roma in the semi-final 4-3 on aggregate but then lost to Juventus 0-2. Top scorer was Ciro Immobile with 26 goals (23 in A).

 

This season Inzaghi was still manager but there had been quite a few changes to the squad. The main new arrivals were: defenders Luiz Felipe (Salernitana-end of loan), Adam Marušić (Oostende), midfielders Davide Di Gennaro (free agent), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Nani (Valencia-on loan with option to buy), forwards Felipe Caicedo (Espanyol) and Pedro Neto (Braga-two-year loan with obligation to buy). In the January market Lazio had recently added Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres (Verona).

 

Leaving amongst others were: defender Wesley Hoedt (Southampton), midfielders Lucas Biglia (Milan), Danilo Cataldi (Benevento -on loan) and forward Keita Baldé (Monaco).

 

The season had started in fantastic style. On August 13, Lazio had defeated Juventus 3-2 to win the Supercoppa Italiana. Lazio went 2-0 up with two Immobile goals but Dybala responded with a late brace of his own before Alessandro Murgia got Lazio’s winner in the 93rd minute. Lazio lifted their 4th Supercoppa.

 

In Serie A Lazio were currently in 4th position. The Biancocelesti had won 13 (including Milan 4-1 and Sassuolo 6-1 at home and Juventus 2-1 away), drawn 4 and lost 3 (including derby 1-2). Their most recent game was a 5-2 away win at SPAL in Ferrara.

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio had got through two rounds, Cittadella 4-1 and Fiorentina 1-0 both at home and would now play Milan home and away in the semi-final on January 31 and February 28.

 

In Europa League, Lazio had qualified for the Round of 32 to be played against Steaua Bucharest in February. In the group phase Lazio had won 4 (Nice home and away, Zulte Waregem at home and Vitesse away), drawn 1 (Vitesse at home) and lost 1 (Zulte Waregem in the last match).

 

So far so good for Lazio.

 

Chievo Verona had finished 14th the previous season under Rolando Maran. The Clivensi had beaten Lazio 1-0 in Rome and drawn 1-1 in Verona. Chievo have a strange record against Lazio, often winning in Rome but rarely in Verona.

 

This season Maran was still in charge. The main new arrivals to the squad were; defenders Pawel Jaroszyński (KS Krakow), Nenad Tomović (Fiorentina-on loan) plus forwards Mariusz Stępinski (Nantes-on loan with option to buy) and Manuel Pucciarelli (two-year loan with option to buy).

 

The main players leaving were: defender Gennaro Sardo (retiring after eight seasons with Chievo), Nicolás Spolli (Genoa) and midfielder Jonathan de Guzmán (Eintracht Frankfurt).

 

So far, after 20 games, Chievo were 13th, after 5 wins, 7 draws and 8 defeats (including Lazio 1-2). A week earlier the Gialloblu had drawn 1-1 at home to Udinese.

 

In Coppa Italia the Clivensi eliminated Ascoli 2-1 but then were knocked out in the local derby by Verona on penalties.

 

Lazio were expected to win today but had to be careful of their negative home record against Chievo. The previous year Lazio had dominated, having more than thirty shots on goal, but lost to a last second goal. In 16 home encounters against Chievo, Lazio had only won 4 while they had lost 5. In Verona on the other hand, Lazio had won ten times and lost only once.

 

The match: Sunday, January 21, 2018, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


A January afternoon with a pale sun only gathered 25,000 to see Lazio face one of their bêtes noires.

 

The Biancocelesti were without Stefan Radu and Felipe Caicedo while Chievo were missing Castro, Inglese and Meggiorini.

 

Lazio had the first chance but it was a bit fortuitous. Marco Parolo, centrally about 30 metres out, went for a cross but miscued and it turned into a high shot which touched the top of the crossbar and went out.

 

In the 6th minute Immobile felt a twinge in his leg, a slight muscular problem but he decided to carry on.

 

Lazio were well on top and took the lead in the 23rd minute. Adam Marusic cut in well from the right and squared the ball inside the area to Luís Alberto who hit it first time, the ball took a deflection off a defender and went in. It was a dangerous shot anyway but the defenders touch gave the keeper no chance. Lazio 1 Chievo 0. If that is what it took to beat Chievo at home Lazio were more than pleased to take it.



The lead however lasted not even two minutes. In the 25th minute a long ball from midfield went over the hesitant Lazio backline and found Manuel Pucciarelli who chested it down past Bastos and fired in a low shot to Thomas Strakosha's right. Lazio 1 Chievo 1. The Chievo curse to continue?

 

Only for seven minutes. In the 32nd minute Lazio were in front again. A surgically precise low Sergej Milinkovic-Savic shot, from just outside the area on the left, beat Stefano Sorrentino on the near post. Lazio 2 Chievo 1.

 

In the 32nd minute, after shooting towards goal, Immobile gestured to the bench that he could not continue. A blow for Lazio but the replacement was Felipe Anderson, not a goal machine but hugely talented.

 

In the 34th minute there was some VAR action. Rosario Abisso initially awarded the visitors a penalty for an alleged foul on Pucciarelli by Senad Lulic but after reviewing it on the pitch side screen realised the Bosnian's challenge was on the ball. Halftime score Lazio 2 Chievo 1.

 

Biancocelesti  in front but no-one was relaxing considering the opposition.

 

There were no changes for the second half.

 

The first opportunity was for the Clivensi. Pucciarelli cut into the area from the left and let off a curling shot which Strakosha had to stretch out to parry. Good shot, good save.

 

Then came a Wallace classic. The Lazio defender was known for his lapses of concentration and this time his mistake was awful. On the right flank near the corner, he completely mishit a back pass to the keeper putting Mariusz Stepinski one-on-one with Strakosha. Luckily for Lazio the Polish striker had to run in from an angle and even more fortunately he hesitated so much that Stefan de Vrij had time to get back and put pressure on him and the Pole blasted the ball out from close range. A major let off for Lazio.

 

In the 61st minute Chievo punished Stepinski by replacing him with Sergio Pellissier and in the 64th Lazio put on Jordan Lukaku for Lulic.

 

After the scare Lazio made it three. In the 68th minute Lazio scored a wonderful goal. Lucas Leiva floated a ball over the Chievo defence on the right where Milinkovic-Savic beat the offside trap, coordinated himself superbly and sent a sublime left-footed volley in on the near post. One of the best goals of the season and more importantly Lazio 3 Chievo 1.



Chievo did not give up and Strakosha was forced to dive and parry a long range shot by Ivan Radovanovic.

 

More substitutions came in the 75th minute with Mehdi Leris replacing Valter Birsa for Chievo and in the 76th with Nani coming on for Milinkovic-Savic.

 

In the 83rd minute Lazio definitely put the flying donkeys to bed. It was Bastos with a shot which took a decisive deflection and wrong-footed Sorrentino. Lazio 4 Chievo 1. Surely this time…


Chievo made one last change in the 85th minute bringing on Luca Garritano for Samuel Bastien.

 

Two minutes later Lazio made it a thrashing. In the 87th minute Nani just outside the area while slipping fired a precise shot which went to Sorrentino's right without any deflection this time. Lazio 5 Chievo 1.

 


A deserved victory for the Biancocelesti albeit slightly flattering in the score line. They however deserved a bit of luck against Chievo considering some of the past matches. Three of the goals had been of excellent quality anyway. Lazio were up to 3rd place. The only worry was Immobile's muscular injury but there was optimism for King Ciro.

 

Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Vargic, Guerrieri, Cáceres, Patric, Luiz Felipe, Basta, Murgia, Jordão, Neto

Manager: S. Inzaghi

 

Who played for Chievo


Sorrentino, Cacciatore, Bani, Tomovic, Gobbi, Bastien (85' Garritano), Radovanovic, Hetemaj, Birsa (75' Leris), Pucciarelli, Stępinski (61' Pellissier)

Substitutes: Seculin, Confente, Jaroszyński, Dainelli, Cesar, DePaoli, Rigoni, Vignato

Manager: Maran

 

Referee: Abisso


Goals: 23' Luis Alberto, 25' Pucciarelli, 32' Milinkovic-Savic, 68' Milinkovic-Savic, 83' Bastos, 87' Nani




What happened next

 

Lazio fought for the 4th place and last Champions League slot until the end. After today's game they lost three in a row but then picked and won 7 out of the next 12 while the derby ended 0-0. They went into the penultimate game away at Crotone in 4th place knowing a win would clinch Champions League but they only drew 2-2. The last match was against Inter at home and Lazio needed a draw to clinch the Champions League but they lost 2-3 in the dying minutes after leading 2-1. A lost opportunity and bitterly disappointing.

 

There was also a lot of controversy in the last match as Lazio defender de Vrij had already announced he would be playing for Inter the following season and it was he who gave away the penalty which let Inter back into the game. He would play in the Champions League while Lazio would play in the Europa League…

 

In Coppa Italia, Lazio went out against Milan on penalties after two nil-nil draws.

 

In the current Europa League, Lazio knocked out Steaua Bucharest 5-2 and Dynamo Kiev 4-2, both on aggregate, and then faced Salzburg in the quarters. Lazio won 4-2 at home and were winning 1-0 away when they collapsed and conceded four goals in twenty minutes (and three in four minutes, '72, '74, '76). How to throw away a possible European semi-final.

 

So, a sort of what could have been season for Lazio. Top scorer was Ciro Immobile with 41 goals (29 in A)! After the Chievo match he was out for three matches.

 

The Chievo curse would return a year later when the already relegated visitors shocked Lazio 2-1 at the Olimpico and practically ended any Champions League hopes for the Biancocelesti.

 

Chievo lost the next three and continued to struggle. With three matches to go, after a 1-4 away defeat to Roma, the "Mussi Volanti" (The Flying Donkeys) were 18th and in deep trouble. They then sacked Maran, took on former player Lorenzo D'Anna and managed to win all three last games (Crotone, Bologna and Benevento). They finished 13th, a remarkable escape trick. Top scorer was Roberto Inglese with 13 goals (12 in A).

 

The Scudetto was won by Juventus for their 34th title and 7th in a row. The three clubs unable to perform any Houdini tricks were Crotone, Benevento and Verona.

 

Lazio 2017-18

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

21

9

8

89

Coppa Italia

4

2

2

-

5

Europa League

12

7

2

3

26

Super Coppa

1

1

-

-

3

Total

55

31

13

11

123

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Strakosha

53

38

4

10

1

Leiva

50

36

4

9

1

Lulic

50

35

4

10

1

Milinkovic-Savic

48

35

4

8

1

de Vrij

47

36

3

7

1

Immobile

47

33

4

9

2

Luis Alberto

47

34

3

9

1

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

Immobile

41

29

2

8

2

Milinkovic-Savic

14

12

-

2

-

Luis Alberto

12

11

-

1

-

Felipe Anderson

8

4

1

3

-

de Vrij

7

6

-

1

-

Let's talk about Nani



Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, known as Nani, was born in Praia, Cape Verde Islands, on November 17, 1986. He is of Portuguese nationality.

 

He first started playing football with Real Sport Clube, from Queluz near Lisbon, in 2000.

 

In 2003 he joined Sporting Lisbon youth set up. In the 2004-05 season he joined the first team and in 2005-06 made his debut. He played 29 league games with 4 goals, 5 games in the domestic cup with 1 goal and 2 games in Europe (1CL +1 EL). The manager was Paulo Bento and the "Leões" finished 2nd and won the Taça de Portugal (the domestic cup).

 

In 2006-07 he played 29 games and scored 5 goals, 5 games in the domestic cup and 6 in the Champions League with 1 goal (Spartak Moscow). The Verde e Brancos (Green and Whites) again finished 2nd and won the Taça de Portugal.

 

In the summer of 2007 Nani made the big move to Manchester United in the Premier League. The manager was Alex Ferguson and the Red Devils won the league. Nani played 26 league games with 3 goals, 5 games in the domestic cups, 11 games in the Champions League plus the Community Shield (won vs Chelsea on pens). Manchester United won the Champions League beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties (Nani scored his, the one just before John Terry's famous slip).

 

Nani stayed another six seasons with United, five under Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United and Nani won another 3 league titles, 2 League Cups and 1 World Cup for Clubs. In this time, they also won another 4 Community Shields and lost another 2 Champions League finals. Nani played a total of 230 games for United and scored 40 goals. His teammates included Rio Ferdinand, Patric Evra, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Robin Van Persie just to name a few.

 

In August 2014 Nani returned to Sporting Lisbon on loan for a season. The manager was Marco Silva (future Everton and Fulham) and the Sportinguisti finished 3rd but again won the cup. Nani played 27 league games with 7 goals, 3 games in the domestic cup with 1 goal and 7 games in Europe (5 in CL and 2 in EL) with 4 goals in CL.

 

In 2015-16 Nani played in Turkey for Fenerbahçe. The manager was fellow Portuguese Vítor Perira and the "Sari Kanaryalar" (Yellow Canaries) were runners up both in the league (Beşiktaş) and in the cup (Galatasaray). Nani played 28 league games with 8 goals, 6 games in the Turkish Cup and 13 in Europe (2 in CL +11 in EL) with 1 goal.

 

In 2016-17 he played in Spain for Valencia. The Blanquinegres had three managers; Pako Ayestaran, Voro, Italian Cesare Prandelli and then Voro again and finished 12th. Nani played 25 with 5 goals and 1 game in the Copa del Rey.

 

In 2017-18 he played with Lazio on loan. The manager was Simone Inzaghi and it was an unlucky season, apart from winning the Italian Supercoppa beating Juventus 3-2. Lazio finished 5th narrowly missing out on Champions Leagueue, lost in the semi-final of Coppa Italia and in the quarter finals of the Europa League. Nani played 18 league games with 3 goals (Udinese, Benevento, Chievo), 1 game in Coppa Italia and 5 games in the Europa League.

 

In the summer 2018 he returned again to Sporting Lisbon but only until February. There were three managers; José Peseiro, Tiago Fenandes and Marcel Keizer. Nani played 18 league games with 7 goals, 5 in the domestic cups and 5 in the Europa League with 1 goal. The "Leões" came 3rd and won both domestic cups but Nani had already left.

 

In 2019 he went for the MLS experience in the States and joined Orlando City in Florida. In three seasons he played a total of 88 games and scored 31 goals.

 

In January 2022 he came back to Italy and joined Venezia in Serie A. The manager was first Paolo Zanetti and then Andrea Soncin for the last four matches. The "Leoni Alati" (The Winged Lions) were relegated and Nani played 10 league games.

 

In 2022-23 Nani went down under to Australia and played for Melbourne Victory. He played 10 league games for the Blues and 1 in the Australian Cup.

 

Nani currently plays in Turkey again, this time for Adana Demirspor. The Mavi Şimşekler (Blue Lightnings) are in 6th position. The manager was initially Patrick Kluivert but he was recently replaced, in December, by Hikmet Karaman. Nani has so far played 14 games with 2 goals.

 

Nani has had an excellent international career. He has won 112 caps for Portugal and scored 24 goals. He won a bronze at the European Championship in Poland-Ukraine in 2017 and gold at the European Championship in France in 2016. He also played 11 games for the U21's with 1 goal.

 

Nani is an attacking midfielder. He is often played on the wing, right or left. He is skilful, strong and quick with exceptional dribbling abilities. He is more of an assist man than a goal scorer but has got his fair share of goals in his career. He is considered one of Portuguese greatest players behind the untouchables, CR7 and Eusebio.

 

At Lazio he was a mixed success. He was on loan so not a regular player. He played a total of 25 games with 3 goals. His time in Rome was enough however for the Laziali to see glimpses of his immense talent.


Lazio career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

2017-18

25 (3)

18 (3)

1

6

Sources


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