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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

"Il Mago" keeps the dream alive

Updated: Feb 29

Game 28

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Fiorentina 2-1

A goal by Luis Alberto eight minutes from time gives Lazio win and hope

Tonight' s game came only three days after the first post-lockdown one. In confirmation of Inzaghi's lack of options he made only two changes, Felipe Caicedo for Joaquin Correa and Bastos for Stefan Radu. Lucas Leiva and Senad Lulic were out injured.

Fiorentina on the other hand changed several players. Chiesa was suspended but Iachini (also suspended) brought in Federico Ceccherini, Milan Badelj, Rachid Ghezzal, Patrick Cutrone and Ribéry (in place of Martin Caceres, Bobby Duncan, Erick Pulgar, Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic).

Fiorentina's 3-5-2 formation put Lazio in difficulty from the start. The hosts were unable to find space while the Florentines were always dangerous on the break with Ribéry pulling the strings. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was shadowed by Gaetano Castrovillari and only Manuel Lazzari with his speed caused the visitors any headaches. Lazio had a header by Marco Parolo saved by Dragowski but in general were blocked well by Fiorentina.

In the 25th minute the "Gigliati" took the lead, with the best player on the field so far Franck Ribéry. The Frenchman danced past (more like through) Patric and Parolo on the left, then round Francesco Acerbi before placing a superb right foot in the corner. Lazio 0 Fiorentina 1.

Lazio’s reaction was bland and all they mustered was a header by Caicedo over the bar. A worrying first half for Lazio who were the ghost of the team admired until lockdown.

Two substitutions at half time, one per team, Radu for Bastos and Igor for Dalbert (in difficulty on Lazzari).

In the beginning of the second half Lazio continued to bounce back off Fiorentina's defensive wall while the "Viola" themselves were extremely dangerous. First a well-placed shot by Castrovillari was saved by Thomas Strakosha and then a sublime curling shot by Ghezzal came back off the crossbar. Nilola Milenkovic then fired over the bar with a long-range effort.

Having been let off the hook Lazio gradually threatened more. Jony had a cracking shot brilliantly saved by the keeper and Lazio increased the tempo. In the 67th minute they were awarded a penalty. Caicedo chested the ball down and got a touch to go past Dragowski when he was fouled (or fell into him… difficult to say). Ciro Immobile took the spot kick and scored, keeper one way and ball the other. Lazio 1 Fiorentina 1 and twenty minutes to go.

Lazio took energy from the equaliser while Ribéry and Fiorentina, already fading before, now were flagging. Lazio surged forward and in the 82nd minute went ahead with Luis Alberto. The Spaniard got the ball just over the halfway line and went straight and unchallenged towards the area, he tried a one- two with Immobile but the ball came back to him off a defenders heel, at that point just outside the box, he did not think twice and sent a low, surgically precise shot into the right hand corner. Lazio 2 Fiorentina 1.

Fiorentina were incapable of a reaction and Lazio controlled the match without running any excessive risks. The only further event was the sending off of Vlahovic in the 95th minute for elbowing Patric.

A precious win for Lazio who remained only 4 points behind leaders Juventus. There was the sensation however that Lazio were not what they were physically and mentally. The fast and furious number of games approaching could be a problem for their already stretched squad. Looking at the seven unused players on the bench today there was not much to choose from. For now however they celebrated their first win since February.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Proto, Guerrieri, Jorge Silva, Armini, Vavro, Falbo, A. Anderson

Manager: S. Inzaghi

Who played for Fiorentina

Dragowski, Milenkovic, Pezzella, Ceccherini (74' Venuti), Lirola, Badelj (84' Pulgar), Castrovillari, Dalbert (46' Igor), Ghezzal, Cutrone (63' Vlahović), Ribéry (84' Sottil)

Substitutes: Terracciano, Terzić, Agudelo, Benassi, Beloko, Duncan

Manager: Iachini (today Carillo)

Referee: Fabbri

Goals: 25' Ribéry, 67' Immobile, 82' Luis Alberto


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