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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

January 24, 2016: Lazio Chievo 4-1

Updated: Jan 24

Candreva show!!!


Two goals and an assist for Candreva as Lazio come from behind and thrash Chievo.




The season so far


The previous season had seen Lazio arrive third and qualify for the Champions League playoff. It was a great season and Lazio played really well so there was hope that it could be repeated.


The summer transfer window was not what the fans wanted. A few of the older players were let go so Lazio said goodbye to Cristian Ledesma, Lorik Cana, Diego Novaretti and Michael Ciani plus the younger ones that had disappointed such as Pedro Cavanda and Brayan Perea. In came Wesley Hoedt, Riccardo Kishna, Patric and a young Serb, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. At the last minute Alessandro Matri also joined.


The first game of the season was played in August. The Super Coppa against Juventus, played in Shanghai. No contest and Lazio were beaten 2-0 on an appalling pitch. Lazio’s form was pretty terrible but the focus was on the Champions League playoff against Bayer Leverkusen.


In front of a packed Olimpico, Lazio played really well in the first leg and won 1-0. They could/should have scored more but some players were still a bit behind physically. The problem was that Miroslav Klose got injured in the first half and at that time Lazio did not have a centre forward that could replace him (Matri came after). The return match was a defensive nightmare. Manager Stefano Pioli decided to “experiment” a 3-4-3 formation instead of the classic 4-4-2. As a consequence Lazio lost 3-0 so they were relegated to Europa League.


Things went relatively well in Europa League where Lazio went through to the second round after winning their group against Dnipro, Saint Etienne and Rosenborg. Lazio were however eliminated in Coppa Italia. After beating Udinese, they lost to Juventus again in the quarter-finals.


One could see immediately that Lazio were having problems and they were not playing as well as the previous year. Small wins and big defeats (4-0 against Chievo, 5-0 against Napoli), players who were not performing as well as the previous year (Felipe Anderson for example) or other fundamental pieces that Lazio lost through injury (Stefan de Vrij) all led to a disappointing season.


A season which seemed basically over once Lazio only collected two points in seven games between the end of October and mid December. Then things changed. Lazio won in Milan against Inter just before Christmas, played a horrible goalless game with Carpi at home in the first game of 2016 but beat Fiorentina away and came back from two nil down to draw at Bologna. Hope for a return to form?


The match: Sunday, January 24, 2016, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Lazio were immediately in trouble after five minutes. Free kick to Chievo. Valter Birsa crossed the ball into the box and Bostjan Cesar, all alone, as the Lazio defenders were all watching the birds in the sky, headed the ball in - 1-0 for Chievo.


Lazio tried to attack but apart from a few shots from outside the penalty box, they did little to create anything worth mentioning. The Chievo goal scorer got booked in the 22nd minute for a foul on Milinkovic-Savic.


Former Lazio goalkeeper Albano Bizzari pulled off a double miracle in the 41st minute. Senad Lulic crossed the ball for Filip Djordjevic whose header was pushed away by the Chievo goalkeeper. The ball was picked up by Milinkovic-Savic who passed it to Keita Balde just inside the penalty box centre-right. His shot was back-heeled by Marco Parolo and Bizzari performed another miracle.


The second half opened with the fundamental episode that conditioned the entire match. Keita ran towards the Chievo goal and Cesar stopped him with a foul. Second yellow card and off to take an early shower. Pioli smelled blood and sent in Miroslav Klose. At this point Lazio was in a 4-2-4 formation with Antonio Candreva, Klose, Matri and Keita. Too much for Chievo.


In the 65th minute Massimo Gobbi fumbled in the penalty box and was beaten to the ball by Candreva. The Chievo player, in an attempt to get the ball, fouled the Lazio right winger and for the ref it was a penalty. Candreva made it 1-1.


Pioli changed the formation again with the introduction of Felipe Anderson, almost a 3-2-5. Six minutes later there was a corner. Candreva took it, the Chievo defence cleared, but Danilo Cataldi was outside the penalty box ready for a chance on the volley. That was exactly what he did and it was 2-1 for Lazio. First goal in Serie A for Danilo.


Lazio were unstoppable and 10 minutes later made it three. Felipe Anderson went into the penalty box after dribbling a few players, ball to Candreva who did not miss.


Immediately after there was a penalty for Chievo. Paul-José M’Poku passed the ball to Alberto Paloschi, Stefan Radu tried not to let him pass but only managed to block him unfairly. Foul, penalty and red card for Radu. Paloschi took the penalty but Etrit Berisha saved.


In the second minute of injury time Felipe Anderson tried to make it four but the woodwork saved Chievo. The fourth goal came anyway two minutes later. Five against two Lazio counter attack, Lulic to Candreva, cross for Keita who headed the ball in for Lazio’s icing on the cake. Game over.


Who played for Lazio


Substitutes: Guerrieri, Matosevic, Braafheid, Patric, Basta, Onazi, Mauri

Manager: Pioli


Who played for Chievo


Bizzarri, Cacciatore, Dainelli, Cesar, Gobbi, Castro, Radovanovic, Pinzi (74' Mpoku), Birsa (65' Frey), Inglese (49' Sardo), Paloschi.

Substitutes: Bressan, Seculin, Costa, Spolli, Pellissier.

Manager: Maran.


Referee: Calvarese


Goals: 5’ Cesar, 66’ Candreva (pen), 72’ Cataldi, 81’ Candreva, 96’ Keita



What happened next


The return to form was short-lived. Disappointing goalless draws away from home at Udine, Genoa and Frosinone, the usual loss against Napoli and an unusual one at home against Sassuolo really meant that a European Cup qualification was too far away.


To make matters worse was the incredible elimination from the Europa League. Lazio had played really well in Europe and after the group stage had to play against Galatasaray in February. 1-1 away and a comfortable win for 3-1 at home. Next up was Sparta Prague. There was optimism after drawing the away leg 1-1. And then the debacle that nobody expected. Lazio lost 3-0 at home. Collapse.


The inconsistency and bad form of some of the players came to a culmination with the 4-1 loss in the derby two weeks later. Lazio actually did not play too badly and were unlucky, hitting the woodwork twice when they were down 2-1.


President Claudio Lotito decided that it was time for a change and sacked Pioli. Simone Inzaghi, former Lazio player of the 2000 scudetto, had already been helped considerably by lazio in his career as manager. The club really believed in his abilities and had given him various youth teams in order for him to gain experience. The time was ripe for the big jump and he took over.


A good start with two consecutive wins and a few tactical changes before a defeat at Turin against Juventus and one against Sampdoria where Lazio had a million chances to win.


Goodbye to Europe and goodbye to Miro Klose who made his last appearance for Lazio against Fiorentina in the last game of the season. Lazio had no intention of renewing his contract and it did not seem that he was interested in continuing.


Lazio 2015-16

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

15

9

14

52

Coppa Italia

2

1

-

1

2

Champions League

2

1

-

1

1

Europa League

10

5

4

1

18

Super Coppa

1

-

-

1

-

Total

53

22

13

18

73

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

Felipe Anderson

47

35

2

2

7

1

Candreva

44

30

2

2

9

1

Parolo

40

31

-

2

7

-

Keita Balde

39

31

1

2

5

-

Lulic

39

30

1

2

6

-

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Candreva

12

10

-

2

Felipe Anderson

9

7

-

2

Klose

8

7

-

1

Matri

7

4

1

2

Parolo

6

3

-

3

Djordjevic

6

3

-

3

Let's talk about Antonio Candreva

Antonio Candreva is a really exciting player. After an initial part of career where none of his managers really knew what to do with him, Edy Reja put him on the right wing and both Lazio and the Nazionale benefited immensely. Unfortunately he made a number of bad decisions in his career and has never really expressed his full potential.


Antonio Candreva was born in Rome on February 28 1987. After playing for the local Roman team Tor de’ Cenci, he joined Rome’s third team Lodigiani and later Monterotondo. He got his first professional contract with Ternana in 2004. He stayed in Umbria for three years until he signed for Udinese in 2007. He did not play much, so for the next season he was loaned to Livorno and gave a massive contribution to their promotion up to Serie A. In January 2010 Udinese loaned him to Juventus but he did not make an impact. For the 2010-11 season he played for Parma and for the first part of the 2011-2012 season for Cesena.


In February, Igli Tare brought him to Lazio on loan. Having said nice things about Roma in the past, he was initially ostracised by the Lazio fans, but made peace with everyone when he scored his first goal against Napoli. He became a fundamental asset for Lazio and in 2013 won the famous Coppa Italia against Roma. His was the crucial cross that led to the legendary goal by Senad Lulic.


He was one of the few players who played a decent season in Vladimir Petkovic’s second dismal year as manager and thrived enormously under Stefano Pioli, at least in the first year. Lazio came third and almost got a Champions League direct qualification. That Lazio team was spectacular, fans had not seen such a high level of football since Roberto Mancini’s Lazio.


Pioli’s second year was very disappointing and the good vibes between Candreva and the club disintegrated. The issue was the captaincy. The previous year the Lazio captain was Stefano Mauri and Christian Ledesma the vice. But in 2015 Pioli decided to change. Candreva expected to be captain, but the manager decided to reward Lucas Biglia. Candreva refused the vice -captaincy, which went to Klose. The winger never played well again. One could see a mile off that he was not in it anymore, he did not have the right mental attitude. Thousands of useless crosses in the penalty box for no-one, much to the fans dismay, and this is something he will also be criticised for at his next club.


The time was right for a change and Lazio sold him to Inter in the summer of 2016 getting quite good money for him. However, despite being reasonably appreciated, he would never again reach the heights of his Lazio stint. He played regularly in his four years on the Nerazzurro side of Milan, with the exception of the 2018-19 season. In 2020 he moved to Sampdoria and stayed there for two years. In 2022-23 he signed for Salernitana.


He played 192 games for Lazio (151 in Serie A, 10 in Coppa Italia, 2 in Champions League, 30 in Europa League and 2 in the Super Coppa Final) and scored 45 times (41 in Serie A, once in Coppa Italia and three in Europa League).


He has 54 caps with Italy and 7 goals. He participated in the World Cup of 2014 and Euro 2016.


Appearances for Lazio

Season

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

Jan-Jun 2012

17

15

-

-

2

-

2012-13

49

35

3

-

11

-

2013-14

44

37

1

-

5

1

2014-15

38

34

4

-

-

-

2015-16

44

30

2

2

9

1

Total

192

151

10

2

27

2

Goals for Lazio

Season

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Jan-Jun 2012

3

3

-

-

2012-13

7

6

-

1

2013-14

12

12

-

-

2014-15

11

10

1

-

2015-16

12

10

-

2

Total

45

41

1

3

Sources


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