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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Lazio thrash Lecce to continue scudetto dream

Updated: Feb 7

1997-98 Season

Game 15, Serie A

Sunday, January 11, 1998

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Lecce 4-0

After a difficult first half Lazio score four times in the second to thump Lecce and stay in the loftier part of the table.

A 40,000 crowd turned up to watch Lazio take on struggling Lecce. The previous league match was a 1-1 draw at Parma. Since then, however, on the epiphany Lazio had trounced city rivals Roma 4-1 in the first leg of the Coppa Italia quarter final and on the 9th of January had celebrated their 98th anniversary. There was enthusiasm in the air coming into today's game.

Lazio were without 3 players as Pavel Nedved, Giuseppe Favalli and Gigi Casiraghi were all missing but had good depth in their squad so were still confident . Less so maybe was Lazio manager Sven-Goran Eriksson who 12 years before, when in charge of Roma, had squandered a scudetto losing at home against an already relegated Lecce (3-2)

Lazio attacked for the best of the first half but with rationale and patience. They looked like a team perfectly aware of their superiority and knowledgeable that a goal was just a matter of time.

Lecce were well organized but caused Lazio very few problems defensively. The Salentini's only attempt on goal was a Francesco Palmieri shot easily blocked by Luca Marchegiani. Not that Lazio were queuing up to score, Beppe Pancaro and Alen Boksic had chances but the closest was a Vladimir Jugovic shot saved onto the bar by Fabrizio Lorieri, there was however the feeling that once they made the breakthrough more would follow. It did not come in the first 45 minutes which ended 0-0.

Lazio started the second half unchanged while Lecce replaced Sergij Atelkin with Francesco De Francesco. Lazio continued to attack but now with more sense of urgency. After Roberto Mancini had missed an open goal they were finally rewarded in the 55th minute when from a Diego Fuser corner the ball was headed across goal by Pancaro and then headed into the net by Roberto Rambaudi. 1-0 to Lazio and the breakthrough they were looking for.

Lecce did not or were not able to change their game plan of defence and counterattack and Lazio took absolute control. Lazio had more chances especially with Fuser and rarely risked anything at the back apart from a low Palmieri shot that went a metre wide.

The second goal came 20 minutes later. In the 75th minute Jugovic pushed the ball forward to Mancini who with a glorious back heel freed Fuser to hammer the ball into the top hand corner. A cracking goal and 2-0 to Lazio.

The last ten minutes of the game saw Boksic steal the show. In the 84th minute a Giorgio Venturin long range strike rattled the crossbar and the Croatian striker was there to slot in the rebound to make it 3-0.

In the second minute of injury time he made it 4-0. Jugovic sent a perfect cross into the area which Boksic ran onto, chested it down and crashed a low right footed volley past helpless Lorieri. A brilliant goal for the man of the match.

The final score of 4-0 was a fair reflection of Lazio's superiority. Lecce were well organized but lacked weight up front and once they conceded the first goal there was never any way back for them.

Lazio completed a fantastic week and were up to 5th in the table.Things were looking good.

Who played for Lazio

Substitutes: Ballotta, G. Lopez, Grandoni

Manager: Eriksson

Who played for Lecce

Lorieri, Sakic,Cyprien, Viali, Rossini, Rossi (70' Martinez), Govedarica, Conticchio, Casale (85' Di Chio), Palmieri, Atelkin (46' De Francesco)

Substitutes: Aiardi, Iannuzzi, Baronchelli, Annoni

Manager: Prandelli

Referee: Serena

Goals: 55' Rambaudi, 75' Fuser, 84' Boksic, 92' Boksic



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