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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Boksic gives advantage to Lazio

Coppa Italia, Semi-final, First Leg

Thursday, February 19, 1998

Stadio delle Alpi, Turin

Juventus Lazio 0-1

A first half goal by the big Croat leaves Biancocelesti optimistic for return leg

Official SS Lazio photo

Not a big crowd in Turin for this midweek game. There could be various reasons for this, the game was televised on the national state network, the majority of Juventini come from outside Turin and are also so accustomed to winning that the domestic cup did not over excite them.


Juventus were missing Ciro Ferrara, Didier Deschamps and Zinedine Zidane (both Frenchmen had flu) while Lazio were without Alessandro Nesta, Beppe Pancaro, José Antonio Chamot, Matías Almeyda and Pavel Nedved.


Juventus were unbeaten at home this season while Lazio had not lost for 13 games (December 6, Juventus 1-2).


Juventus had the first opportunity. Alessandro Birindelli crossed from the right to Daniel Fonseca, the Uruguayan headed it to Alessandro Del Piero who set him up in front of Luca Marchegiani but the former Roma striker fired over the bar.


Lazio responded with an Alen Boksic shot but it was comfortably saved by Angelo Peruzzi.


Juventus had territorial superiority also because despite Lazio three forwards, Roberto Mancini and Gigi Casiraghi were often busy with defensive tasks leaving Boksic alone up front. In the 16th minute Del Piero was powerful but central and Marchegiani saved.


In the 22nd minute Lazio had a freekick from just over the halfway line. Giorgio Venturin hit it long into the area where Mark Iuliano's header anticipated Mancini but only as far as Boksic on the edge of the box, the Croat struck it on the half volley and it beat Peruzzi. Juventus 0 Lazio 1.


Slightly out of the blue but a vital goal for Lazio, who grew in confidence. Juventus seemed in difficulty and only created two threats before halftime. The first when Del Piero did well to free himself on the left and put in an inviting low cross but Paolo Negro got there just before Fonseca and cleared into corner. Then Fonseca had a freekick which gave the illusion of being a winner but in reality hit the side netting. Halftime Juventus 0 Lazio 1.


Not thoroughly deserved but the home side had done little in response to Lazio's goal.


For the second half Marcello Lippi put on some more physical players; Moreno Torricelli for Birindelli and Edgar Davids for Antonio Conte.


Juventus started the second half more positively. A Del Piero freekick which looked threatening was saved well by Marchegiani into corner.


Lazio concentrated on defending but occasionally went forward. In the 54th minute Casiraghi had a golden opportunity to free Mancini on the left in front of goal but he messed up the pass, enabling Peruzzi to clear.


In the 56th minute Lippi threw on another striker, Filippo Inzaghi, replacing midfielder Gianluca Pessotto. Juventus were constantly forward but a combination of imprecision on their part and excellent defending on Lazio's meant they never really created much.


The Bianconeri had a long range Alessio Tacchinardi effort go over the bar in the 74th minute and a minute later a Paolo Montero miscued low cross almost surprised Marchegiani on the front post.


Eriksson protected himself by taking off Mancini and putting on Guerino Gottardi in the 76th minute.


The hosts biggest chance came in the 85th minute when, on a low Fabio Pecchia shot without great expectations, Fonseca stuck his foot out and the ball then shaved the post.


In the 86th minute Lazio became even more defensive as they replaced Casiraghi with midfielder Dario Marcolin.


It was Lazio however who had the last possibility. Boksic went off on one of his solitary runs down the left and crossed for incoming Vladimir Jugovic who blasted a volley but it was off target.


A good win for Lazio. It was far from over but all they had to do was not lose at home in the return match. Sometimes easier said than done against "La Fidanzata d'Italia" (Italy's fiancée) but this evening's game had brought optimism to the Lazio camp.


Who played for Juventus

Peruzzi, Birindelli (46' Torricelli), Iuliano, Montero, Pessotto (56' F. Inzaghi), Di Livio, Conte (46' Davids), Tacchinardi, Pecchia, Del Piero, Fonseca

Substitutes: Sorrentino, Pellegrin, Morandini

Manager: Lippi


Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Ballotta, Pancaro, Rambaudi

Manager: Eriksson


Referee: Treossi

Goal: 22' Boksic



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