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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

March 9, 2015: Lazio Fiorentina 4-0

Updated: Mar 9

Lazio demolish Fiorentina


A goal after six minutes and three more in the second half help Lazio win a no contest affair




The season so far


The previous season Lazio had finished a poor 9th. They had replaced manager Vladimir Petkovic with Edy Reja after 16 matches, so the honeymoon with the Swiss was over but not his legacy (2013 Coppa Italia triumph).


This season Lazio had a new manager in Stefano Pioli. There had also been several changes to the squad, some major, some minor. The biggest buy for Lazio was Dutch central defender Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord) who had impressed at the recent 2014 World Cup. Other good signings were defender Dušan Basta (Udinese) and midfielder Marco Parolo (Parma). Another new face was Serbian striker Filip Djordjevic (Nantes- end of contract) while local lad Danilo Cataldi was back from a loan period (Crotone). In the recent winter session the defender Mauricio had arrived (Sporting Lisbon).


Sadly, some players left, in particular Giuseppe Biava (end of contract) and André Dias (retired). Other minor movements were mainly in attack; Emiliano Alfaro (Liverpool Montevideo- loan), Brayan Perea (Perugia- loan/ he would return in January) and Hélder Postiga (Valencia-end of loan). In the winter session popular Uruguayan midfielder Álvaro "El Tata" Gonzalez had left for Torino.


The first half of the season had been a mixed bag but things were now looking up. Lazio had lost three out of the first four matches but then won the next four. They had drawn the derby 2-2 and came into today's game on a four-match winning streak. So far the Biancocelesti had won 13, drawn 4 and lost 8, so on 43 points were in fourth place. A week earlier Lazio had defeated Sassuolo 3-0 away.


Holland International de Vrij had confirmed to be a class act and Parolo a reliable, solid club player but Djordjevic had not impressed.


Today's opposition Fiorentina were in a good moment. The previous year they had finished 4th in Serie A and reached the final of Coppa Italia (lost to Napoli) under manager Vincenzo Montella.


This year the ‘Aeroplanino’ Montella, former Roma player, was still on the bench. So the same manager but there had been some changes to the squad list. The main players to come in were midfielders José Basanta (Monterrey), Milan Badelj (Hamburger SV) and Jasmin Kurtić (Sassuolo) plus forwards Federico Bernardeschi (Crotone- back from loan) and Khouma Babacar (Modena- back from loan).


Leaving Florence were defenders Modibo Diakité (Sunderland- end of loan), Mattia Cassani (Parma)- midfielders Massimo Ambrosini (end of contract), Oliveira (Manchester United- end of loan), Matias Vecino (Empoli- on loan)- forwards Alessandro Matri (Milan -end of loan) and Ante Rebić (RB Leipzig-on loan).


The major changes however had come recently, in February, in the winter market session. Future world star striker Mohamed Salah had arrived on loan from Chelsea. In addition to the Egyptian, two Italians, forward Alberto Gilardino (world champion 2006) and talented midfielder Alessandro Diamanti were back from spells in China with Guangzhou E. To balance these late entries Fiorentina had sold Colombian dynamo Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea.


This season, after losing the opener (Roma 2-0), and a slow start, things were improving for the Viola. They were unbeaten since January 6 (Parma 1-0), and a week before today's game had beaten Inter away 1-0 (Salah). Khouma Babacar had scored seven goals and Mohamed Salah had scored for the last three consecutive games. So far the Florentines had won 11, drawn 9 and lost 5 (including Lazio 2-0), giving them 42 points (4 behind Lazio).


The match: Monday, March 9, 2015, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Played on a Monday night, the Olimpico gathered a crowd of about 35,000.


Fiorentina presented more or less their strongest line-up with the exception of defender Gonzalo Rodriguez. For Lazio, Stefano Mauri was back and played up front alongside Miroslav Klose.


Lazio made their intentions clear right from the early minutes and attacked furiously. After only six minutes their positive approach was rewarded. A defensive clearance was met by Lucas Biglia just outside the box and, with the ball coming down from a height, the Argentine co-ordinated himself perfectly and sent a textbook low volley into the right hand corner. A superb goal for technique and power, 1-0 Lazio.


The whole first half continued in the same mould. Lazio had chance upon chance to score more goals. Three minutes after the opener, Klose went through the Viola defence but his chipped shot was blocked by Norbeto Neto. Felipe Anderson had two shots saved by Neto, Mauri put a close range shot over the bar, from a low Antonio Candreva cross, and then Biglia almost re-enacted his first goal with a marvellous volley from the same position, only this time the strike was medium height, but Neto deflected it onto the post. And Fiorentina? Their only shot was a dangerous Mati Fernandez freekick that shaved the post, although it did look as if Federico Marchetti had it covered. Halftime score Lazio 1 Fiorentina 0, but it could have been 3 or 4.


For the second half, in an attempt to stem Lazio’s total dominance in midfield, Fiorentina brought on former Roma David Pizarro for Alessandro Diamanti. Then in the 55th minute striker Gilardino came on for a subdued Josip Ilicic.


In the first twenty minutes Lazio were less rampant but always looked in control of the game, Fiorentina never really threatened the Lazio keeper. In the 65th minute, Lazio doubled their lead. Felipe Anderson was unstoppable on the left wing and was tripped in the area by Nenad Tomovic. Candreva struck a powerful low penalty to the left and Neto dived to the right, Lazio 2 Fiorentina 0.


Fiorentina pushed forward without lucidity or conviction and for Lazio it became child's play to find space on the counter attack.


In the 75th minute Candreva charged into the right side of the area, his shot was parried by Neto and spun up to Klose who, with a diving header, made it three. Lazio 3 Fiorentina 0.


Fiorentina were dead and buried and five minutes from the end Lazio scored again. Substitute Keita Balde had a shot saved by Neto, Klose got to the rebound but Neto saved again, the ball again fell to Klose who, surrounded by dormant defenders, hammered in his second goal of the evening. Lazio 4 Fiorentina 0. And Fiorentina? All they could muster was another Fernandez freekick from almost midfield, well saved by Marchetti.


A completely one-sided match which could have ended up 6 or 7 zero. A superb display by Lazio against a visiting team who looked tired and demoralised. Lazio with today's three points went up to joint third place with Napoli and had an even better view on the Champions League slots.


Who played for Lazio


Manager: Pioli


Who played for Fiorentina


Neto, Tomovic, Savic, Basanta, Pasqual, Kurtic, Badelj (76' Joaquin), Mati Fernandez, Diamanti (46' Pizarro), Salah, Ilicic (55' Gilardino)

Substitutes: Rosati, Lezzerini, G.Rodriguez, Richards, Alonso, Rosi, Lazzari Borja Valero, Vargas

Manager: Montella


Referee: Tagliavento


Goals: 6' Biglia, 65' Candreva (pen), 75' Klose, 85' Klose



What happened next


Lazio had an excellent season. A week later the Biancocelesti would beat Torino away and then go on to reach eight consecutive victories (Verona, Cagliari and Empoli). The roll was interrupted by an away defeat at Juventus. There were more wins (Sampdoria and Parma) but also defeats (Inter and Roma) so the Champions League qualification all went down to the last match, away in Naples.


It was a dramatic match to say the least. Lazio needed a draw to clinch third place while Napoli had to win. The first half ended with the Biancocelesti 2-0 up and seemingly in control with goals by Parolo and Candreva.


The second half was a rollercoaster. In the 55th minute Napoli pulled one back with Gonzalo Higuain. In the 62nd minute Lazio were reduced to ten men when Parolo was shown a red card. In the 64th minute Higuain scored again to make it 2-2.


The Napoli faithful smelt blood and the stadium was on fire, things were not looking good for Lazio. A glimmer of hope came in the 70th minute when Napoli too were forced to play in a man less as Faouzi Goulam was given his marching orders.


The hope was short lived as in the 76th minute the “Partenopei” were awarded a penalty probably worth about 9 billion Euros. The “Pepita” Higuain stepped up and, to the horror of the locals and relief of the Laziali, blasted the ball over the bar towards the Vesuvius.


Lazio regained vigour after being on the brink of disaster. Four minutes after the penalty drama an unlikely hero appeared in the form of Eddy Onazi. In the 85th minute he took advantage of a Napoli mistake and from midfield went straight towards goal and then beat the keeper as he came out. Napoli 2 Lazio 3, an incredible turnaround in the space of a few minutes.


Napoli were distraught and Klose made it 4-2 in the 92nd minute. An incredible night gave Lazio third place and a Champions League preliminary qualification.


The hero of the hour was Nigerian Onazi and the Laziale saying "Onazi è l'unico nazi che ci piace " was never as popular. The saying is obvious lost in translation but is a play on words stating that the Nigerian is the only nazi we like.


Lazio finished the season third with 69 points after 21 wins, 6 draws and 11 defeats. Top scorer was Klose with 16 (13 in Serie A).


Lazio also reached the final of Coppa Italia but were defeated 2-1 by Juventus in extra time (after Djordjevic had hit a freakish double post).


Alas Lazio would never get into the Champions League group stage as they were defeated 3-1 on aggregate by Bayer Leverkusen in the preliminary round.


Fiorentina recovered from the humiliation at the Olimpico and finished 4th, qualifying for the Europa League. A week later they beat Milan 2-1 in Florence and despite a wobbly patch between April 12 and April 29, with four consecutive defeats (Napoli, Verona, Cagliari, Juventus), they then finished strongly.


Between May 3 and May 31 the Gigliati won their last five matches (Cesena, Empoli, Parma, Palermo, Chievo). They earned 64 points with 18 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats. Their top scorers were German Gomez and Slovenian Ilicic with 10 goals. Mohamed Salah scored 6 league goals and 2 in Coppa Italia in his 4 months in Florence. He did not stay in Tuscany but instead would play Lazio in the Roman derby the following year.


Fiorentina reached the semi-final stage both in Coppa Italia (Juventus) and the Europa League, defeated by Sevilla, after knocking out both Roma and Tottenham.


The league title was won by Juventus for the 31st time (4th consecutive). At the other end Parma (who had started at -7), Cesena and Cagliari dropped to the second tier of Italian football, the dreaded Serie B.


Lazio 2014-15

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

38

21

6

11

71

Coppa Italia

7

5

1

1

17

Total

45

26

7

12

88

Top 5 appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Klose

40

34

6

Parolo

40

34

6

Candreva

38

34

4

Felipe Anderson

37

32

5

de Vrij

35

30

5

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Klose

16

13

3

Parolo

11

10

1

Candreva

11

10

1

Felipe Anderson

11

10

1

Mauri

9

9

-

Djordjevic

9

8

1

Let's talk about Lucas Biglia


Lucas Rodrigo Biglia was born in Mercedes, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 30, 1986.


His youth career was spent at local Estudiantes Mercedes and then at Argentinos Juniors.


He stayed on and started as a professional at Argentinos Juniors, as another Argentinian, Diego Maradona. He played 15 games and scored 1 goal for the ‘Bichos Colorados’.


In 2005 he signed for Independiente. He stayed one year with the Avellaneda club, playing 49 games.


In 2006 Europe called. He signed for Anderlecht and set off to play in Belgium for the Purple and Whites of Brussels. He stayed six years with the ‘Paars-Wit’ playing 187 games and scoring 11 goals. In his time in Brussels he won 4 league titles, 1 Belgian Cup and 4 Supercups.


In the summer of 2013 he signed for Lazio for five years. His debut was unfortunate as it came in a 4-0 defeat by Juventus in the Italian Supercoppa final. His league debut, a week later on the 25th August, at least coincided with a win as Lazio beat Udinese 2-1. His first goal for the Biancocelesti was away against Verona on the 22nd December. In his first year in Rome, first under Vladimir Petkovic and then Edy Reja, he made 26 league appearances (2 goals), 1 in Coppa Italia, 4 in the Europa League and 1 in the Super Coppa.


In his second year, he found a new manager, Stefano Pioli. Lazio had an excellent season finishing third and qualifying for the Champions League preliminary round. Biglia played 27 league games and scored 3 goals (Torino, Fiorentina, Cagliari) and 4 in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (winner against Milan away). Lazio reached the final of Coppa Italia but were unlucky and defeated 2-1 by Juventus in extra time.


In 2015-16, Lazio again started the season with Stefano Pioli (1-32) but finished it under Simone Inzaghi (32-38). Biglia played 27 league games and scored 4 goals (Bologna, Verona, Atalanta, Torino), 2 in Coppa Italia, 6 in Europe (1 CL-5 UCL) with 1 goal (Saint-Étienne) and 1 in the Italian Supercoppa final.


The next season, 2016-17, would be his last in Rome. Simone Inzaghi was confirmed as manager and Biglia played 29 league games with 4 goals (Genoa, Fiorentina, Milan, Genoa) and 5 games in Coppa Italia with 1 goal (Inter). Lazio had a decent season finishing 5th and also reached the final of Coppa Italia but were again defeated by Juventus 2-0.


In the summer of 2017, after four seasons, Biglia left Lazio and joined Milan. The Rossoneri signed him for 17 million Euros, plus 3 of bonus'. In his first year with the ‘Diavoli’ he played under Vincenzo Montella (until 27 November) and then Gennaro Gattuso; he made 28 league appearances with 1 goal (Spal), 4 in Coppa Italia and 5 in Europa League. Milan reached the final of Coppa Italia but were defeated by … surprise, surprise, Juventus.


In his next two seasons in Milan he played less, also due to a series of injuries. In 2018-19 Gattuso stayed on and Biglia made 16 league appearances (1 goal vs Chievo), 1 in Coppa Italia and 2 in Europa League.


In 2019-20 (the season interrupted by Covid) he played only 14 games in Serie A, first under manager Marco Giampaolo (1-7) and then Stefano Pioli. Despite being reunited with his former Lazio coach, Biglia was not able to impose himself as a first choice midfielder and when his contract ran out at the end of the season he left.


In September 2020 he went to play in Turkey, joining Fatih Karagümrük in the Süper Lig. He was almost immediately made captain and stayed two years with the Istanbul club. He played 65 games for the ‘Kara Kirmizi’ and scored 4 goals.


In 2022 he changed teams but stayed in Turkey and Istanbul. He joined the ambitious İstanbul Başakşehir. A club only formed in 1990 and said to be very ‘close’ to the current Turkish government (it is owned by a minister). They are an up and coming club and have already won one league (2019-20). They obviously do not have the massive following of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe or Galatasaray. One Besiktas fan interviewed before a derby game claimed he had never met a Başakşehir fan... Anyway Biglia now plays for the Grey Owls of Istanbul, under former Inter player Emre Belözoğlu. Up until the break for the world cup he had made 6 appearances.


On the international stage Biglia first played 3 games for Argentina U-17's (1 goal), then 8 games for the U-20's (1 goal). With the U-17's he won the South-American Championship in 2003 and bronze in the World Championships. With the U-20's he won bronze at the South-American Championship in 2005 but then won gold at the World Cup.


He then went on to earn 58 full caps for the Albiceleste and scored 1 goal against Colombia. His debut came on 9 February 2011 in a friendly against Portugal. He played his first game at a world championship on 15 June 2014. He played 7 games in that world cup including the final loss against Germany. Losing finals was unfortunately a recurring event in his national team career, losing two Copa América finals in Chile 2015 and USA 2016. He retired from the Albiceleste after playing one game (versus Iceland) at the Russia World Cup 2018.


Lucas Biglia is nicknamed El Principito (“Little Prince”) for his diminutive height, although he is 1.78 metres tall. He is a defensive midfielder and usually plays as a deep lying playmaker. He is a hard worker, aggressive and good at breaking down opposing attacks. In addition to these defensive skills he can also dictate the tempo with good technique, vision and passing ability. He has leadership qualities and was captain at times with Lazio. The Argentine possesses good ball-striking ability confirmed by many goals on freekicks and penalties. He has had a good career as his curriculum proves and his 59 Argentina caps are particularly impressive.


At Lazio he was a reasonable success. He had four solid seasons and captained the Biancocelesti thirteen times. He was never a massive fan favourite and in my opinion lacked some qualities to make him a great player. It's true that had Lazio not lost 4 cup finals during his time in Rome he might be remembered differently. He will however be remembered with affection and his best Italian days were definitely in the capital.


Lazio Career

Season

Total Appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

2013-14

32 (2)

26 (2)

1

-

4

1

2014-15

31 (4)

27 (3)

4 (1)

-

-

-

2015-16

36 (5)

27 (4)

2

1

5 (1)

1

2016-17

34 (5)

29 (4)

5 (1)

-

-

-

Total

133 (16)

109 (13)

12 (2)

1

9 (1)

2

Sources


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