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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

It looked easy but …

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

2022-2023 Season

Game 8

October 2 2022

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Rome, Stadio Olimpico

Lazio Spezia 4-0

Official SS Lazio photo

Lazio comfortably beat Spezia but the match could have gone differently had Manuel Lazzari not saved a goal early on.

The teams

Maurizio Sarri chooses to risk Ciro Immobile even though he has not trained for a week. Danilo Cataldi recovers from a few minor problems and Manuel Lazzari is back, so Lazio have their classic line up. Spezia Manager Luca Gotti decides to advance Etan Ampadu to midfield and put Simone Bastoni back on the left wing due to Arkadiusz Reca’s absence through injury.

The match

It only takes forty seconds for Lazio to create a chance and it's a big one. Felipe Anderson flies down the right wing, ball to Luis Alberto in the centre, he immediately dispatches it to Immobile who is tripped by Ampadu. Penalty, no discussion necessary. Immobile looks a little out of breath. Not ideal when you have to kick a penalty. Ciro gives it a big whack, ball in Curva Nord.

The missed penalty doesn't seem to bother Lazio and in the 5th minute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic just misses connecting with the ball after a marvellous assist from Felipe Anderson.

The seventh minute decides the match. M’Bala Nzola's pace beats Alessio Romagnoli down the right wing and puts a great ball into the top far left corner of the box for the incoming Jakub Kiwior. The ball is going in and it would have put Spezia ahead but Lazzari manages to get a foot to it and it's only a corner. This is the decisive moment of the game. If Lazio had gone 1-0 down after missing a penalty it would have been a very steep mountain to climb.

Instead, five minutes later Lazio score. Mattia Zaccagni gets away from Ampadu on Lazio’s left wing, moves to the centre and reaches the penalty area. Once there he passes the ball to Felipe Anderson, low cross to centre of the box and Zaccagni is there again to make it 1-0.

In the 24th minute there is a free kick on the right wing near the corner flag for Lazio. Luis Alberto crosses the ball to the far post, Immobile goes for the kill but the Spezia defence saves. The ball goes out of the penalty box but Cataldi sends it back in only for it to be cleared again by Spezia. Romagnoli gets to the ball first and with an acrobatic shot makes it 2-0 for Lazio. First Lazio goal for the former Milan skipper.

The game is virtually over. In the 36th minute Milinkovic-Savic heads the ball on the upper part of the cross bar. Spezia attempt a comeback but a Bastoni shot and a Caldara header are wide.

Second half

Sarri sends in Mario Gila at the beginning of the second half. Patric has intestinal problems and has to leave the pitch to spend the next hour sitting down in a particular area of the changing rooms.

Lazio try to put the game to sleep by lowering the intensity in view of the upcoming 11 games to be played over next six weeks. Spezia are no match and even if they do give it a go, the Biancocelesti can score on the counter attack any second. And this is what they do in the 62nd minute.The usual magnificent pass from Luis Alberto to Immobile who runs for thirty meters towards the Spezia penalty box, dribbles past Bartlomiej Dragowski but goes too far to the left. Head up, he sees Zaccagni unmarked and passes the ball to him. The Lazio forward sends the ball to the centre of the box where Milinkovic-Savic makes it 3-0. It’s his 50th goal in Serie A.

Three minutes later it’s time for the subs. Pedro and Elseid Hysaj replace Immobile and Lazzari for Lazio, Kevin Agudelo, Albin Ekdal and Kelvin Amian substitute Mikael Ellertsson, Mehdi Bourabia and Ampadu.

Emmanuel Gyasi has a chance in the 70th minute but Ivan Provedel saves. Luis Alberto is substituted by Matias Vecino three minutes later and in the 76th minute an Emil Holm acrobatic shot from outside the penalty box is just wide. Spezia try to reopen the contest but without much conviction. Nzola has a chance in the 82nd minute but his shot is wide.

In the first minute of injury time, Lazio make it four. Milinkovic-Savic to Hysaj who passes it back to the Serb unmarked in the box. No problem for the big man and 4-0 for Lazio. Game over.

A comfortable win but it could have been a lot more complicated.

Official SS Lazio photo

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Lazzari (64' Hysaj), Patric (46' Gila), Romagnoli, Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi (77' Marcos Antonio), Luis Alberto (73' Vecino), Felipe Anderson, Immobile (64' Pedro), Zaccagni.

Substitutes: Maximiano, Adamonis, Radu, Kamenovic, Basic, Bertini, Cancellieri, Romero.

Manager: Sarri

Who played for Spezia

Dragowski, Holm, Ampadu (65' Amian), Caldara, Nikolaou, Kiwior (82' Beck), Ellertsson (65' Agudelo), Bourabia (65' Ekdal), Bastoni, Gyasi (75' Sanca), Nzola.

Substitutes:: Zoet, Zovko, Verde, Ferrer, Maldini, Sher, Nguiamba, Strelec.

Manager: Gotti.

Referee: Sacchi

Goals: 12' Zaccagni, 25' Romagnoli, 62' Milinkovic-Savic, 90'+1' Milinkovic-Savic

Bookings: Ampadu, Gysai


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