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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 13, 2003: Lazio Beşiktaş 1-0

Updated: Mar 13

Lazio take minimum advantage to Inönü cauldron in a week’s time


A second half goal by Simone Inzaghi breaches Turkish bunker but leaves qualification to the UEFA Cup semifinal in the balance.




Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The season so far


This was Lazio's first season without home-grown and possibly best defender in the world Alessandro Nesta. Due to financial difficulties Lazio had been forced to sell their captain to Milan. To make matters worse Milan and Juventus had secretly agreed to keep their bids low, so Lazio were also forced to sell Hernán Crespo to Inter.


Fortunately, Lazio had a new manager. The disappointing Alberto Zaccheroni had been replaced by former player and scudetto winner Roberto Mancini.


Mancini found quite a different squad from the one he had left as a player only two years earlier. No more Pavel Nedved, Juan Sebastian Veron, Marcelo Salas, Alen Boksic and obviously Nesta.


From the previous season Lazio had also let go of midfielders Ivan de la Peña (Espanyol), Gaizka Mendieta (Barcelona - loan) and Karel Poborský (Sparta Prague).


Joining Mancini’s Lazio were defender Massimo Oddo (Verona), forwards Enrico Chiesa (Fiorentina) and Bernardo Corradi (Inter). In the Autumn session, midfielder Nikola Lazetić had been added (Como- loan).


The season had started well for Lazio. They had won all the first 7 away games (including Juventus) and in December were even briefly top of the table. In the new year however, they had slowed down and came into today's European game following 6 consecutive draws in Serie A. Just three days earlier the Biancocelesti had drawn the local derby 1-1. They had won 10, drawn 12 and lost 2. They had however only won 3 times at home.


In today's competition, the UEFA Cup, Lazio were having a good run. To reach the quarter finals they had eliminated; Xanthi (Greece - 4-0, 0-0), Red Star Belgrade (Serbia - 1-0, 1-1), Sturm Graz (Austria - 3-1, 0-1) and Wisla Krakow (Poland - 3-3, 2-1).


The opposition, Turkish Beşiktaş, were an in-form side. The Black and White Eagles of Istanbul were top of the table in Turkey. They were managed by experienced and wise Romanian Mircea Lucescu and had only lost one league game all season, beating both hated rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbaçhe away from home.


To get to today's stage of the UEFA Cup they had knocked out Sarajevo (Bosnia - 2-2, 5-0), Deportivo Alaves (Spain - 1-1, 1-0), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine - 3-1, 0-0) and Slavia Prague (Czech Republic - 0-1, 4-2). The "Kara Kartallar" (Black Eagles) main threats up front were Sergen Yalçin and Ilhan Mansiz. There was also an Italian connection in midfielder Federico Giunti (former Perugia, Parma, Milan and Brescia). Another familiar face was Brazilian defender Antonio Carlos Zago, who had played four seasons for Roma and had infamously spat at a Lazio player during a local derby (fortunately he was suspended for today but not for spitting).


The match: Thursday, March 13, 2003, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


From the early stages it was obvious the Istanbul Eagles had flown across from the Bosphorus with the clear intention of taking away a 0-0 draw or at least to limit the damage.


Straight from the kick-off they placed all eleven players deep in their own half in protection of goalkeeper Oscar Cordoba. Lazio, despite this extremely tight defence, did have some chances. In the 13th minute, a first Claudio Lopez attempt was denied by the Colombian keeper. A minute later, Chiesa failed to domesticate a Beppe Favalli cross and then Lazetic was unable to coordinate himself for a shot. In the 17th minute, a lunging close-range effort by Fernando Couto hit the keeper. So, constant pressure by the home team but not an abundance of chances. Beşiktaş only foray and chance came in the 34th minute, when Sergen dispossessed a Lazio player at the edge of the box but hammered his shot way over the bar. Halftime score Lazio 0 Beşiktaş 0.


For the second 45 minutes Mancini decided to throw caution to the wind and in the 50th minute replaced defender, and captain, Favalli with striker Simone Inzaghi (who had a knack of getting European goals). Besiktas, obviously satisfied with the stalemate, kept their starting line-up.


Mancini's move was soon rewarded. In the 56th minute, a Lopez cross was turned in with a low twisting volley by Inzaghi. A good goal and a precious lead for Lazio.


Beşiktaş stuck to their game plan although they did have a couple of opportunities both with Mansiz who first in the 20th minute, under pressure by Couto, put the ball wide and then ten minutes later, having got past Sinisa Mihajlovic, had a shot saved by Angelo Peruzzi.


It was Lazio however, who went closer to doubling their lead and a potentially less risky trip to Istanbul. First Stefano Fiore, who had replaced Chiesa for the last 15 minutes, spawned a clear chance from near the penalty spot, sending the ball into Curva Nord. And then in the dying minutes Lopez, with the keeper rushing off his line, had his shot blocked. Final score Lazio 1 Beşiktaş 0.


A win, with no away goals conceded, was not a bad result but no-one at Lazio was under any illusion that the trip to the fiery atmosphere of the Inönü stadium would be a comfortable one.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Mancini


Who played for Beşiktaş


Cordoba, Ali Eren, Ronaldo, Yildirim, Niyazi (86' Nouma), Tayfur (75' Dursun), Giunti (70' Yasin), Topraktepe, Pancu, Sergen, İlhan

Substitutes: Selahattin, Dobra Kaan, Tolga, Tamer Tuna

Manager: Lucescu


Referee: Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)


Goals: 56' S.Inzaghi




What happened next


The dreaded return match in Istanbul turned out to be rather harmless and was practically resolved in the first ten minutes. Despite the vociferous 50,000 home crowd Lazio were 2-0 up after nine minutes.


In the fifth minute, after a 40-metre run, Claudio Lopez pushed the ball across to Stefano Fiore for the easiest of tap-ins. Four minutes later a Mihajlovic freekick into the heart of the area was met by Lucas Castroman who with a backward flipped header made it 2-0. The Black Eagles then needed four unanswered goals to qualify and even the home crowd quietened down... slightly.


Beşiktaş did have a few chances; Ilhan had a shot cleared off the line by Couto and hammered another over the bar after Mihajlovic had inexplicably stumbled untouched in the area.


In the second half Lazio controlled the game reasonably well. The "Istanbullus'' saw a bicycle kick by Ilhan go high and then did score a consolation goal in the 82nd minute with Sergen Yalçin. Too little too late and with a 2-1 away win it was Lazio heading into the semi-final.


Now that Lazio are safely through the moment has come to confess I have a soft spot for Beşiktaş. Between 1989 and 1990 I lived and worked in Istanbul. When I arrived I, as a football fan in a football crazy town, had to choose a team. It was a no brainer really. Fenerbaçhe had just won the league and the town was painted blue and yellow so as a Lazio fan it wasn't in me to go for the winners. Galatasaray were immediately ruled out due to their club colours (red and yellow). That left Besiktas who also had the eagle in common with Lazio. I immediately felt an affinity with the Black Eagles faithful, who seemed humbler and less cocky than their city rivals' fans, especially the Cim bom bom ones (Galatasaray). It reminded me of Rome, where the Roma fans are traditionally more cocky, self-assured and feel an unjustified superiority sometimes verging on delusion. Anyway, I saw quite a few games including two derby wins (Fenerbahçe 3-1, Galatasaray 1-0). Besiktas had a British coach, Gordon Milne (still a legend at the club) and two British players Alan Walsh and Ian Wilson. I was lucky in my choice as Beşiktaş won the double that year, it was their 8th title, they have since won another 8.


Back to Lazio, the semi-final was against an excellent Porto side managed by José Mourinho. Lazio lost the first leg, on a wretched wet night in Lisbon, 4-1 despite taking the lead. In the return match in Rome the 70,000 crowd was not enough to push Lazio beyond a 0-0 draw. Porto would then go on to lift the cup, defeating Celtic 3-2 in Seville. The Dragões (Dragons) would then win the Champions League the following year.


As for Lazio, in the league they achieved a good 4th place, qualifying for the Champions League preliminary round. In the late summer they played fellow Eagles, Portuguese Benfica, and with two victories (3-1 home, 1-0 away) entered the prestigious group stage in September.


In the Coppa Italia Lazio were knocked out in the semi-final by city rivals Roma. The consolation being that the Giallorossi were then not able to win the cup (Milan 1-4, 2-2).


So, all in all a good season for Lazio in the first traumatic Post-Nesta year. Their top scorer was Claudio Lopez with 17 goals (15 in Serie A). The scudetto was won by Juventus for their 27th title.


Today's rivals Besiktas went on to win the Turkish league. They dominated the season only losing once and finishing on 85 points, 8 ahead of Galatasaray. They failed however to win the double, losing the final to Gençerbiriği on penalties. In Istanbul no doubt the words 'Beşiktaş Şampiyon' were enough to make it a season to remember on the black and white side of the Bosphorus.


Lazio 2002-03

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

15

15

4

57

Coppa Italia

6

3

1

2

7

UEFA Cup

12

6

4

2

18

Total

52

24

20

8

82

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Lopez

47

34

4

9

Fiore

46

33

5

8

Stankovic

38

29

2

7

Cesar

36

26

1

9

Corradi

36

32

4

-

Peruzzi

36

30

-

6

Top Five Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Lopez

17

15

-

2

Corradi

10

10

-

-

Fiore

9

6

1

2

S. Inzaghi

9

4

1

4

Simeone

7

7

-

-

Chiesa

7

2

1

4

Let’s talk about: Nikola Lazetić


Source Lazio Wiki

Nikola Lazetić was born in Mitrovica, Kosovo, February 9, 1978.


He started playing football in his local club Trepča but at 17 joined the mighty Red Star Belgrade. In December 1995 he made his league debut against Proleter Zrenjanin. In total he played 15 times for The Star. In 1996 he was loaned to Budućnost Valjevo (8 appearances- 2 goals) and in 1997 to Hajduk Belgrade and then Milicionar without getting any playing time. In 1998 he was loaned to Vojvodina (12 appearances) and in 1999 joined Obilić where he played 35 games and scored 9 goals.


In 2000 he closed his first Slav phase and left to play in Turkey. He joined Fenerbaçhe. He stayed with Fener for two seasons, playing 46 games and scoring 6 goals. He won the Süper Lig in 2001.


In 2002 he started his Italian adventure. He joined Como in Serie B. He was however immediately loaned to Chievo in Serie A where he played 11 games. In January 2003 he arrived at Lazio on loan.


His experience in the capital was brief and only lasted six months. He played 5 games in Serie A, 1 in Coppa Italia and 4 in the UEFA Cup (scoring a goal against Wisla Krakow).


In July 2003 he was loaned to Siena by Como but subsequently sold to Genoa however staying in Siena in Serie A and playing 31 games with 2 goals (Parma, Modena). In 2004-05 he actually physically went to Genoa in Serie B making 39 appearances for the Grifoni and scoring 1 goal (Vicenza). The Rossoblu won the league and promotion but were subsequently accused of match fixing and relegated to C1.


At this point Lazetić moved on and joined Livorno. The Labronici (The Lightbourners) had a fantastic season finishing 6th in Serie A and qualifying for the UEFA Cup (In reality they came 9th but were upgraded due to three teams involvement in Calciopoli, including Lazio). Lazetić played 16 league games for the Amaranto from Leghorn but at the end of the season moved on again.


In 2006 he joined newly promoted Torino. He stayed with the Granata for two seasons playing 57 games in Serie A.


In 2008 it was time to return home and he re-joined Red Star Belgrade. He played two seasons making 41 appearances and scoring 3 goals. In 2009-10 he won the Serbian Cup defeating Vojvodina 3-0.


It was curiously the defeated finalists, Vojvodina, who Lazetić joined next. It was of course a return and he stayed just one season, playing 19 games and scoring 2 goals.


In 2012 until 2014 he was on the books at Smederevo but there are no records of him playing (they suffered two relegations from Serbian Division 1 to Division 3). The club's biggest ever game was probably a UEFA Cup tie versus Ipswich Town in 2002-03, lost 2-1 on aggregate.


So, Lazetic nomadic club career came to an end. He had endless different experiences, won some silverware, earned 22 caps for Yugoslavia and 3 for Serbia and Montenegro (scoring 1 goal versus Azerbaijan, in Euro 2004 qualifiers).


Lazetić did not have the best of careers and was by no means a champion. At Lazio he passed without leaving much trace but he had an honest career, played for some good teams, travelled the world playing football, earned decent money and no doubt spent a satisfying 16 years in professional football.


A curious fact to finish, his nephew Marko, born in 2004, is now part of A.C Milan's squad and is a centre-forward. Maybe it's not the last we've heard of Lazetić.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

UEFA Cup

Jan-Jun 2003

10 (1)

5

1

4 (1)

Source


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