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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Hail Marcos Antonio

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

2022-23 season

Game 33

May 3 2023

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Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio-Sassuolo 2-0

The boys from Brazil and a Basic tap-in enable Lazio to dream on

Official SS Lazio photo

The teams

Maurizio Sarri is forced to make a few changes for tonight's game. Midfielder Danilo Cataldi is out injured while defender Alessio Romagnoli is suspended. In their places Patric and Matias Vecino are in the starting line-up. A surprise is the omission of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic but he had been off form recently and is replaced by Marcos Antonio. In defence on the right Manuel Lazzari is chosen instead of Elseid Hysaj.

Sassuolo coach Alessio Dionisi also has a couple of players missing. Both striker Andrea Pinamonti and midfielder Maxime Lopez are suspended. They are replaced by Gregoire Defrel in attack and Pedro Obiang in the middle.

The match

For Lazio this is a must win game if they want to reach their Champions League dream. The opposition however are dangerous, worry-free in mid-table and have already beaten Juve, Milan, Atalanta and Roma this season.

Lazio start the match extremely well. Concentrated, precise, quick and dangerous. After not even two minutes Felipe Anderson intercepts the ball in midfield, runs half the length of the pitch, cuts into the box and shoots but Andrea Consigli parries and Marcos Antonio's shot on the rebound goes well wide.

Lazio are looking sharp. In the 7th minute an excellent low through ball by Marcos Antonio into the area finds an unmarked Matias Vecino who squares for Immobile and Ciro has no difficulty beating Consigli. However, the linesman has his flag up so it's over to VAR. After a lengthy check the goal is given and Lazio celebrate again. Then, just as the teams prepare to re-start, the referee receives orders to back pedal for an offside, not on the goal move itself, but Immobile in the build up. The technology may be advanced but the humans operating it still have some way to go.

Lazio are not deterred and push forward. In the 11th minute Luis Alberto pulls his shot wide. Then a minute later a perfect assist by Luis Alberto puts Immobile through on the left, he enters the box and tries to curl it round the keeper but Consigli dives to his left and saves and on the rebound Vecino is unable to coordinate his body to strike properly.

It's Lazio again in the 14th minute. A brilliant, floating, vertical assist by Marcos Antonio reaches Anderson in front of goal, Felipe brings the ball down and beats Consigli with a right foot across goal. Lazio 1 Sassuolo 0. Thoroughly deserved.

Five minutes later Mattia Zaccagni tries the house speciality, he dribbles, cuts inside from the left and curls the ball to the opposite post but too much this time.

Sassuolo finally show signs of life on the half hour mark. Davide Frattesi, the former Roma youth player, crosses from the left by line and Matheus Henrique on the other side hits the side netting with a good opportunity.

In the 35th minute Lazzari has one of his famous offensive forays but after a long run his low, left foot is blocked by Consigli. In the 45th minute Sarri is forced into a first substitution as Vecino has a muscular problem and is replaced by Milinkovic-Savic.

Just before halftime Sassuolo have a huge chance. Berardi feeds Frattesi in the area, he cleverly goes round Nicolò Casale and from close range hammers the ball onto the crossbar. The bar is probably still shaking and the shot is so hard that the ball then lands outside the area and goes into touch.

Half time Lazio 1 Sassuolo 0. Lazio are by far the better team so far but the Emiliani are starting to threaten gradually.

Second half

Sassuolo replace a subdued Armand Lauriente with Nedim Bajrami.

Sassuolo start on the front foot and are constantly on the attack. It's Lazio however who have the first chance. On a defensive blunder Marcos Antonio suddenly has a clear shot at goal but rushes it and the ball flies over the bar.

From now on it's all Sassuolo. In the 62nd minute Frattesi tees up Gregoire Defrel but the former Roma player drags his left shot wide from an extremely favourable position. In the 70th minute Domenico Berardi has a powerful low, angled shot but Ivan Provedel does well to dive low to his left to block, pulling off an excellent save.

In the meantime in the 68th minute Lazio replaced Immobile with Pedro and Adam Marusic with Elseid Hysaj. There is still no stopping the Neroverdi tide as they dominate possession and pile forward.

Lazio's only break from defending comes in the 84th minute when Toma Basic, who had come on for a cramp-ridden Marcos Antonio, shoots just wide of the post with a low left foot.

Then it's all "Sasôl" again. In the 89th minute Norwegian Kristian Thorstvedt puts in a venomous low cross into the small area and Patric, facing the goal, lunges and puts it out for a corner, seriously risking an own goal but ultimately saving the day. From the subsequent corner an ever present Frattesi header goes over the bar.

There will be 5 minutes of stoppage time. An eternity at this point.. Luckily after two have passed Basic wins a challenge in midfield and Sassuolo are unbalanced. Felipe Anderson finds Zaccagni on the left, he enters the box and squares a perfectly dosed ball to the incoming Basic who taps in. Lazio 2 Sassuolo 0.

Lazio win a hard fought battle against an initially poor but then extremely tough and dangerous Sassuolo. The results coming through on the radio's are positive too, both Roma and Milan have drawn. Lazio's Champions League dream continues.

Official SS Lazio photo

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Marusic, Casale, Patric, Marusic (68' Hysaj), Marcos Antonio (73' Basic), Vecino (45' Milinkovic-Savic), Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson, Immobile (68' Pedro), Zaccagni

Substitutes: Maximiano, Adamonis, Pellegrini, Radu, Gila, Bertini, Fares, Cancellieri

Manager: Sarri

Who played for Sassuolo

Consigli, Zortea (73' Toljan), Ferrari, Ruan (88' Erlich), Rogerio, Matheus Henrique, Obiang (81' Thorstvedt), Frattesi, Lauriente (46' Bajrami), Defrel (72' Alvarez Martinez), Berardi

Substitutes: Pegolo, Russo, Marchizza, Romagna, Harroui, Ceide

Manager: Dionisi

Referee: Irrati

Goals: 14' Anderson, 92' Basic

Bookings : Lauriente, Dionisi, Luís Alberto, Berardi, Tressoldi, Zortea, Marusic, Toljan, Lazzari


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