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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Lazio’s match confirms the unlucky week for European refs with Italian clubs

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

2022-23 Season

Europa League Group Stage

Group F, Game 4

October 13, 2022

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Rome, Stadio Olimpico

Lazio Sturm Graz 2-2

Not exactly the best week for European refs with Italian clubs. After the very harsh penalty against Milan and the penalty not given to Juventus, the referee makes a number of mistakes in Lazio’s game.

The teams

Maurizio Sarri decides to make five changes compared to the game against Fiorentina. In come Pedro, Elseid Hysaj, Mario Gila, Danilo Cataldi and Toma Basic and on the bench go Mattia Zaccagni, Adam Marusic, Alessio Romagnoli, Marcos Antonio and Mattias Vecino. Turnover, even if Sarri does not particularly like the word, is necessary. Difficult game three days ago against Fiorentina, difficult match coming up on Sunday against Udinese.

The match

The beginning of the game is a little bit boring. Nothing much happens. Lazio try to control the match but Sturm Graz are lively. The Austrians attempt a number of shots from outside the box but are never really dangerous and Lazio are unable to find the right key to unlock Sturm Graz’s defence.

One thing to note is the fact that the referee is not on form. There are several professional fouls from the Austrians that are not sanctioned with bookings. It takes four fouls on Zaccagni before Sascha Stegemanni takes the yellow card out of his pocket. This just makes the Lazio players nervous and their opponents dirtier.

The nervousness has its culmination in the 27th minute when following a blatant dive in the box from Otar Kiteishvili, he and Manuel Lazzari have a tête-à-tête. They are both booked.

The first real chance comes in the 29th minute. Pedro’s low cross in the box finds Ciro Immobile who immediately volleys the ball towards the goal, Jorg Siebenhandl saves and Basic is anticipated by David Affengruber. A similar opportunity comes six minutes later. Hysaj in the box for Immobile who fumbles, ball to Pedro, big whack, crossbar!!!!

In the 41st minute Luis Alberto to Pedro who dribbles a couple of players and jiggles just inside the penalty box on the right. The Spaniard eventually loses the ball but it gets to Luis Alberto again who sends it back in the box to Zaccagni. He turns and gets away but he is tripped by Affengruber. Penalty. After a long wait the VAR finally gives the ref the OK. Immobile scores.

Ciro now has another Lazio record: most goals for Lazio in a UEFA competition.


The game changes again in the third minute of injury time. Lazzari and Alexander Prass go to the ground together on the left goal line in Lazio’s half. As Lazzari is getting up he accidently brushes the Austrian’s face. Prass acts as if he has been hit, the referee falls for it and it’s yellow card number two for Manuel and he's off.

A ridiculous decision. There was no way he could have seen that clearly. The consequence of the decision is a player scuffle with Immobile and Jon Stankovic getting booked.

Second half

Marusic comes in for Zaccagni and like Lazio did with Bologna, Sarri changes the team to a 4-4-1 formation with Basic and Pedro on the outer limits of midfield. William Boving substitutes Emanuel Emegha for the Austrians.

Lazio pulll back to defend the result and the Austrians are more courageous. In the 56th minute Sturm Graz equalise. Cataldi loses the ball in Lazio's half, Prass passes it to Boving who shoots from outside the box and scores a great goal. But on the pass to Boving, Gila is fouled. The goal should have been disallowed.

Lazio are in deep trouble and the Austrians suddenly believe that they can win this. Sarri tries to limit the danger by sending in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Vecino and Felipe Anderson for Basic, Luis Alberto and Cataldi in the 58th minute. A minute later Boving tries again from outside the box but Ivan Provedel saves.

Sturm Graz have a lot of shots from outside the box but Provedel saves them all. In the 67th minute Stefan Hierlander crosses low but Albian Ajeti is unable to get to the ball in time.

In the 71st minute Lazio score again. Pedro runs into the Austrian half on Lazio’s left side, ball to Felipe Anderson in the box, marvellous back heel back to Pedro who shoots. Siebenhandl is not perfect and the ball goes in. 2-1 for Lazio.

In the 78th minute four substitutions: Matteo Cancellieri for Immobile, Ivan Ljubic for Stankovic, Manprit Sarkaria for Ajeti and Jakob Jantscher for Stefan Heirlander.

Boving tries again three minutes later but his shot is just wide. It won’t be in the 83rd minute. Sarkaria to Boving, great shot, great goal.

Both teams try to score a winner but there are no more really big chances. A match decided by a very bad day at the office for the referee.

All teams in Group F are on five points. The qualification for the next phase will be decided in the last two games.

Official SS Lazio photo

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Lazzari, Gila, Patric, Hysaj, Luis Alberto (57' Felipe Anderson), Cataldi (57' Vecino), Basic (57' Milinkovic-Savic), Pedro, Immobile (78' Cancellieri), Zaccagni (46' Marusic).

Substitutes: Maximiano, Magro, Romagnoli, Casale, Radu, Marcos Antonio, Romero.

Manager: Sarri

Who played for Sturm Graz

Siebenhadl, Ingolitsch, Affengruber, Wuthrich, Dante, Hierlander (78' Jantscher), Stankovic (79' Ljubic), Prass; Kiteishvili (57' Horvat), Ajeti (79' Sarkaria), Emegha (46' Boving).

Substitutes: Schutzenauer, Giuliani, Borkovic, Oroz, Schnegg, Fuseini, Wels.

Manager: Ilzer.

Referee: Stegemann (Germany)

Bookings: Ingolitsch, Kiteishvili, Affengruber, Stankovic, Immobile, Prass, Ljubic, Wuthrich

Sent off: Lazzari (double yellow card)

Goals: 45' Immobile (pen), 56' Boving, 71' Pedro, 83' Boving


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