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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Zac is back

Updated: Apr 29

Game 34, Serie A

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Hellas Verona 1-0

Mattia Zaccagni comes on and 18 minutes from time gives Lazio a deserved win.

Official SS Lazio photo

The team

Lazio were still without long term injury Ivan Provedel and now had defender Mario Gila out too. In compensation Mattia Zaccagni was back after a lengthy period and Felipe Anderson was surprisingly available too. There were no alternatives in defence while in midfield manager Igor Tudor went for Gustav Isaksen in an unfamiliar role, Daichi Kamada and Matteo Guendouzi in the middle and Adam Marušić on the left. Up front the trio was Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson and Taty Castellanos who had finally impressed in mid-week with a brace.


Verona had the whole squad available apart from Juan Manuel Cruz, the son of former Lazio player Julio.


1st half

Lazio had control of the game and pushed forward from the start. It soon became clear however that it would not be easy to break down the Scaligeri's defensive resistance.


In the 5th minute it was in fact the visitors who went close with a Tijjani Noslin low right footed effort which went just wide of the left post.


Lazio arrived to the last third of the field relatively easily but then had difficulties in being dangerous. The Biancocelesti had wayward shots by Kamada and Guendouzi and by the 15th minute had 85% of possession but little more.


In the 19th minute Lazio finally had a clear chance. Luis Alberto swung in a corner from the left and it reached Gustav Isaksen unmarked on the other side, the Dane drilled a low shot but Lorenzo Montipo saved with his feet.


Lazio then had an Anderson shot comfortably saved in the 22nd minute and four minutes later Luis Alberto floated a great ball through to Isaksen on goal but the Scandinavian messed up the control and the opportunity was lost.


In the 35th minute Verona threatened again when, on a high ball into the area, Christos Mandas and Nicolò Casale mistimed their jumps and the ball fell to Karol Swiderski with a seemingly easy chance, with only a defender protecting the goal, but he failed to hit it properly and managed to put it just wide.


In the 38th minute came the first booking, for Lazio's Alessio Romagnoli for an innocuous foul in midfield. The first half petered out without any further action. Lazio 0 Verona 0.


A balanced first 45 minutes with Lazio attacking constantly but Verona in the end with just as many goal scoring opportunities.


2nd half

There were no changes after the break but Lazio immediately looked more determined to make this game theirs.


In the 48th minute Anderson hit a superbly struck shot from just outside the area but it came back off the crossbar.


In the 50th minute Nicolò Casale was also on a yellow when he held Swiderski back by his shirt. Two Lazio defenders on yellows so they had to be careful.


In the 54th minute Taty Castellanos dispossessed Juan Cabral in midfield and with a brilliant "rabona" sent Luis Alberto careering down the left, the Spaniard flicked it into the middle where Anderson held it up and gave it back to the "Mago" but his curling shot went just over the bar. It would have been a spectacular goal.


In the 60th minute came four substitutions, two per side but courageous ones for Lazio. The Biancocelesti took off defender Casale for forward Pedro and Isaksen for Mattia Zaccagni. Lazio were now completely attacking oriented but in the end a point would do little for their European hopes. The Gialloblù on the other hand brought on Ondrej Duda for Stefan Mitrovic and Tomas Suslov for Swiderski.


In the 65th minute a huge chance for Lazio. Regenerated Kamada won a challenge and burst towards the left side of the box and squared for Pedro, the striker from the Canary Islands however missed a sitter and incredibly put the ball wide.


In the 68th minute Lazio pushed again. Anderson sent Guendouzi down the right wing and he swung in a perfectly dosed low cross to Castellanos on the other side, he then hit a first time medium height left foot but Montipo pulled off an excellent save, then on the rebound Taty headed wide from an impossible angle.


By now Lazio definitely deserved the lead and it came four minutes later. In the 72nd minute a combined Kamada-Zaccagni effort won the ball back from Suslov in midfield and the Italian sprinted forward with the ball, then a quick one-two with Luis Alberto put him through on goal slightly to the left but he managed to put the ball between the keeper and the post to give Lazio the lead. Lazio 1 Verona 0.


Lazio were now in control and continued to attack but Verona seriously threatened on a set piece in the 81st minute. The ball was curled into the crowded area from about 30 metres out on the right and Diego Coppola got a strong header towards goal but Mandas saved superbly with an outstretched hand to save Lazio.


Meanwhile in the 76th minute Lazio had buttoned up slightly replacing Luis Alberto with Elsied Hysaj while Verona in the 78th had thrown on forward Federico Bonazzoli for Darko Lazovic and Fabien Centonze for Jackson Tchatchoua.


In the 84th minute Pedro was tripped up centimetres from the area on the right, it was a goal scoring chance and the Verona defender should have been off as he had already been booked. Pedro himself took the freekick and hit the base of the near post with a low, curling left footed effort.


More substitutions followed in the 87th minute. For Lazio Matías Vecino for Anderson and Ciro Immobile for Castellanos while for Verona Thomas Henry, who had scored in the away game, replaced Roman and Lazio fan Michael Folorunsho.


Henry almost did it again in the 4th and last minute of added time. Romagnoli naively lost the ball on the byline and it was squared in to the Frenchman in the area but fortunately he blasted it over to the Foro Italico area. Final score Lazio 1 Verona 0.


A deserved win for Lazio who especially in the second half had dominated and could have scored more goals. An important three points for Lazio's European ambitions, realistically the Europa League and signs of life from Japanese Kamada. All in all a positive evening.


Who played for Lazio

Mandas, Patric, Romagnoli, Casale (60' Pedro), Isaksen (60' Zaccagni), Kamada, Guendouzi, Marušić, F.Anderson (87' Vecino), Luis Alberto (76' Hysaj), Castellanos (87' Immobile)

Substitutes: Sepe, Renzetti, Pellegrini, Lazzari, Cataldi, Rovella, Gonzalez

Manager: Tudor


Who played for Verona

Montipo, Tchatchoua (78' Centonze), Magnani, Coppola, Cabal, Serdar, Folorunsho (87' Henry), Noslin, Mitrovic (60' Duda), Lazovic (78' Bonazzoli), Swiderski (60' Suslov)

Substitutes: Chiesa, Perilli, Vinagre, Dawidowicz, Belahyane, Silva, Patane, Charlys, Tavsan

Manager: Baroni


Referee: Massa


Goals: 72' Zaccagni


Bookings: Romagnoli (L), Casale (L), L.Alberto (L), Duda (V), Cabal (V), Coppola (V), Noslin (V), Zaccagni (L)


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