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  • Writer's pictureLazio Stories

Lazio 2019-20: What if ...

In 2019-20 Lazio managed to qualify for the Champions League and win the Super Coppa. But it was a season of "what ifs".

Official SS Lazio photo

The 2018-19 season had been a disappointing one with one exception, Lazio, who had Champions League qualification hopes, started badly with two losses against Napoli and Juventus but by the end of the first half of the season were fourth even if a long was away for the first three. They then lost positions but returned fourth by the 29th game after beating Inter in Milan. But in the next four matches they lost three (including at home to already relegated Chievo) and drew one. The last bus was the game against Atalanta but they lost even that one so no top tier European competitions for the 2019-20 season. In Europa League the came second in their group behind Eintract Frankfurt and were knocked out by Sevilla.

In Coppa Italia however it was a different story. After beating Novara 4-1 in January, they beat Inter in the penalty shoot out in the quarterfinals and Milan in the semis. In the final, two goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa in the last ten minutes allowed them to beat Atalanta, win their seventh Coppa Italia, and qualify for the Europa League.

In the 2019-20 season there were high hopes. The previous year had seen a not so good season from Luis Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile due to a number of injuries and it was hoped that if the three managed to play better, an improvement was going to be obvious.

In the first seven games there had been three wins, a draw in the derby, a loss at Inter but also two faux pas: loss at Ferrara and a draw against Bologna with Correa missing a penalty with two minutes to go. On the whole, Lazio were following in the footsteps of the previous season.

The game changer was the match against Atalanta. At the end of the first half Lazio were down 3-0. The season was at that point finished, a comeback impossible. But the Biancocelesti managed to draw the game and things changed. They then won 11 consecutive matches winning at Milan for the first time in 30 years, beating Juventus 3-1, Napoli 1-0, and with spectacular last gasp wins at Cagliari and Sassuolo always thanks to Felipe Caicedo. The Biancocelesti reached third position in the 12th game and stayed there until the match against Inter. Coming from behind, Lazio beat the Neroazzurri 2-1 and were just one point behind Juventus. The situation did not change after the 26th game when Lazio beat Bologna 2-0.

But, just as triumph was within reach, the world went into lockdown due to Covid. When Serie A returned at the end of June, Lazio were without Senad Lulic and Lucas Leiva, both injured. The poor form and lack of alternatives, broke the Biancoceleste momentum and by the time they started playing better the scudetto had already gone Juventus’ way. However the good news was that Lazio was able to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2007.

In Europa League Lazio gave up early. They lost the first game to Cluj, beat Rennes at home in the second and after the two losses against Celtic, manager Simone Inzaghi concentrated on the league. In Coppa Italia Lazio was knocked out by Napoli in the quaterfinals in a very unfortunate game. Ciro Immobile missed a penalty slipping as he was about to shoot and despite being in ten men due to Leiva being sent off for dissent, Lazio came very close to equalising and even hit the woodwork.

In December Lazio played the Super Coppa in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia against Juventus. The Biancocelesti had only just beaten the Bianconeri in Serie A a couple of weeks earlier for 3-1 and managed to repeat themselves with the same score thanks to goals from Luis Alberto, Lulic and Danilo Cataldi. A great match and great triumph for the club.

On the whole a very good season even if the “what ifs” will haunt the club and fans.

Ciro Immobile was Serie A top scorer with 36 goals, equalling the record set by Gonzalo Higuain. Immobile won the European Golden Shoe.

Most minutes played overall: Francesco Acerbi, 4229

Most minutes played Serie A: Thomas Strakosha, 3644

Most appearances all season: Acerbi, 45

Most appearances Serie A: Strakosha 38

Best goal scorer overall: Ciro Immobile, 39

Best goal scorer Serie A: Immobile, 36

More assists overall: Luis Alberto, 15

More assists Serie A: Luis Alberto, 14

Most substituted player overall: Felipe Caicedo, 18

Most substituted player Serie A: Caicedo 16

Most sub ins overall: Danilo Cataldi, 21

Most sub ins Serie A: Cataldi 18

Most booked player overall: Lucas Leiva, 12

Most booked player Serie A: Leiva, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, 9


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