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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Argentinian duo take Lazio into the Champions League

Updated: Apr 30

Champions League

3rd Qualifying Round

Tuesday August 21, 2001

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio FC Copenhagen 4-1

Two goals by Crespo and one by Lopez and Fiore overturn away defeat and bring on more Champions League nights for Lazio

Source Lazio Wiki

A 40,000 crowd on a hot August evening hoped to see Lazio continue to be in the European big time.

Lazio played with new signings Gaizka Mendieta and Stefano Fiore. For the Danes the match winner of the away game, Heine Fernandez, was on the bench.

The first half was disappointing. Lazio were slow and confused and seemed to be missing Juan Sebastian Veron terribly. Fiore was nowhere to be seen, Mendieta and Karel Poborsky kept on getting in each other's way and Diego Simeone was playing too deep. Lazio had some chances however, in the 13th minute a Hernan Crespo shot was saved well by Magnus Kihlsted while in the 23rd the keeper blocked a Claudio Lopez effort with his feet. The Danes played with a solid 4-4-2 and never ran excessive risks. Just as worrying for Lazio was an injury to Paolo Negro who was forced off after 35 minutes and replaced by Beppe Favalli. So, halftime Lazio 0 FC København 0. Lazio would have to liven up if they wanted to play with the big guns (and pick up the 40 billion Lire)

There were no changes during the break but soon after the restart Lazio scored. The home side finally, with Lopez, put a low through ball behind the slow Danish central defenders and Crespo was suddenly one-on-one with the keeper, he went past him with some difficulty and a dose of luck and then slotted the ball into the empty goal. Lazio 1 FC København 0.

Any hope of Lazio taking control was soon disappointed as they pulled back conceding territorial possession and as series of corners to the Scandinavian visitors. In the 61st minute more injury problems for Lazio as Sinisa Mihajlovic limped off and was replaced by Francesco Colonnese. Eight minutes earlier the Biancocelesti had already taken a subdued Poborsky off, for a more energetic Lucas Castromán.

Luckily only two minutes after the Serb's injury Lazio scored again. In the 63th minute Simeone took a freekick quickly to Favalli on the left wing and his low cross was brought down by Crespo just inside the area and beautifully struck into the top hand corner. Lazio 2 FC København 0.

Two minutes later it seemed all over as Lazio made it three. With some help from the referee, who cleverly dummied the ball in midfield perhaps confusing the Danes, Mendieta then went forward and squared to Lopez for an easy finish. 3-0 and all over? Far from it.

The Danes made three substitutions and ten minutes from time pulled one back. Their best player Zuma, after a one-two at the edge of the box, let off a cracking low finish just inside the post, giving Angelo Peruzzi no chance. A great goal which meant with one more the Copenhageners would qualify on away goals.

Lazio felt the tension and went through an edgy last ten minutes. The Lions had no major chances but forced a few corners which were potentially dangerous, especially seeing their average size.

Fortunately in the 89th minute Lazio were spared further suffering and scored a fourth. The Danes were totally concentrated on going forward and left acres of space at the back. Mendieta, from inside his own half, saw Fiore on the other side going forward, and put the ball across into space. The Italian midfielder was suddenly completely alone just inside the Danes half, he took the ball forward and beat the keeper coming off his line with a top hand corner shot. Lazio 4-FC København 1 and final score.

A flattering, unconvincing but vital win for Lazio who qualified for the Champions League. Not without difficulty but over the two legs the Romans had proved to be far superior to the Danish Champions. They would however have to improve to be competitive against better opposition (CL is certainly the right place to find it).

On another positive note, along with the CL access, there was the prolificacy of Crespo and in the second half especially there had been signs of life from Mendieta and Fiore.

On the negative side were the injuries to two defenders, Paolo Negro and Mihajlovic.

Who played for Lazio

Manager: Zoff

Who played for F.C København

Kihlstedt, Rytter, Madsen (72' Fredgaard), Laursen, Jensen, Lønstrup, Poulsen, Røll, Thorninger (66' Bisgaard), Zuma, Jonsson (67' Fernandez)

Substitutes: Petersen, Svensson, Nielsen, Christiansen

Manager: Karlsson

Referee: Krug (Germany)

Goals: 47' Crespo, 63' Crespo, 65' C. Lopez, 80' Zuma, 89' Fiore



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