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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

A chess game with no winners

Updated: Feb 8

Game 21, Serie A

Sunday January 28, 2024

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Napoli 0-0

A classic game of chess where the two teams were unable to overcome each other

The team

For the game against Napoli no Ciro Immobile and Mattia Zaccagni, suspended, so the trio up front was made up of Gustav Isaksen, Taty Castellanos and Felipe Anderson on the left. In defence Manuel Lazzari was preferred to Luca Pellegrini, as a consequence Adam Marusic was left full-back.

Napoli had numerous players unavailable, some suspended, some in the African Nations Cup, some in the Asian Nation Cup plus a few injuries.

First half

Just like in the other matches, Lazio struggled to create chances and in the first half there was only one. In the 13th minute Luis Alberto on the left raced towards the penalty area and passed centrally to Isaksen who tried a curling shot but it was slightly too high.

The Dane tried again with a shot in the 43rd minute but the ball went way over the crossbar.

That was it for the first half. The two teams basically annulled each other.

Second half

Lazio finally managed to score in the 46th minute with an incredible acrobatic bicycle kick from Castellanos, but he was offside.

Napoli made their first substitution in the 60th minute when Gianluca Gaetano took the place of Diego Demme. Five minutes later a Danilo Cataldi attempt from outside the box was only just wide.

In the 67th minute, after a corner kick was cleared by the Lazio defence, Gaetano tried a volley from outside the box but it was very wide.

In the 75th minute Matteo Guendouzi sent a great ball to Isaksen. The Dane moved into the box and sent a low pass to the centre but Castellanos was slightly too far forward. He tried a back heel but Leo Ostigard cleared. This was the biggest chance of the game.

Further substitutions followed. For Lazio, Matias Vecino, Pellegrini, Nicolò Rovella and Pedro came in for Guendouzi, Lazzari, Cataldi and Isaksen. For Napoli, Pasquale Mazzocchi, Cyril Ngonge, Jesper Lindstrom and Leander Dendoncker substituted Mario Rui, Giacomo Raspadori, Matteo Politano and Piotr Zielinski.

Vecino did try a couple of headers but they turned out innocuous.

And Napoli? A lot of possession, passes and a Zielinski free kick that went wide in the 83rd minute.

In sum the teams defended so well that the attacks were unable to create anything more than they did.

All very boring.

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Lazzari (71' Pellegrini), Gila, Romagnoli, Marusic; Guendouzi (77' Vecino), Cataldi (83' Rovella), Luis Alberto, Isaksen (83' Pedro), Castellanos, Felipe Anderson.

Substitutes: Sepe, Mandas, Kamada, Casale, Hysaj, Ruggeri, Sana Fernandes.

Manager: Sarri

Who played for Napoli

Gollini, Ostigard, Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, Di Lorenzo, Demme (60' Gaetano), Lobotka, Mario Rui (79' Mazzocchi), Politano (83' Lindstrom), Zielinski (83' Dendoncker), Raspadori (79' Ngonge).

Substitutes Contini, Idasiak, D`Avino, Gioielli.

Manager: Mazzarri.


Referee: Orsato


Booked: Demme (N), Romagnoli (L), Gila (L), Cataldi (L), Ostigard (N)


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