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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Lazio battle against devil and referee to earn point

Season 1996-97

Game 32, Serie A

Sunday, May 18, 1997

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

Milan Lazio 2-2

Trailing twice, denied a legitimate goal and down to ten men Lazio fight back to clinch a draw

Lazio were currently in 4th position in Serie A, on 50 points. The Biancocelesti had a four point cushion on Sampdoria who were just off the European slots. In the last three matches Lazio had drawn the derby (with a 92nd minute equaliser in 10 men), beaten Perugia 4-1 and Napoli 3-2, both at home.

An open game today. Lazio doing better and 8 points ahead but with so much talent Milan could never be underestimated.

Lazio had no real injury problems and went for a more conservative Guerino Gottardi over Roberto Rambaudi while Igor Protti was chosen rather than Beppe Signori. Milan were without defenders Pietro Vierchowod injured and Franco Baresi suspended plus midfielder Edgar Davids and forwards Dejan Savićević and Marco Simone.


There was a 50,000 crowd in the old San Siro (45,000 were season ticket holders).


In the first half Lazio were strangely absent and Milan had control of  the proceedings. The Milanista midfield dominated with Stefano Eranio and Zvonimir particularly lively helped too by Demetrio Albertini.


In the 16th minute the Biancocelesti were saved by the crossbar when a thundering long range shot by Marcel Desailly came back off the woodwork.


Milan had the upperhand despite not creating clear cut chances. In the 34th minute Baggio went close with a long range shot but soon after the "Diavolo" was forced to do without the "Divin Codino" off injured but on surged George Weah.


Milan continued to push forward and in the 41st minute deservedly took the lead. Albertini crossed in a freekick from the left into a crowded area where Weah anticipated a hesitant defence and headed past Luca Marchegiani. Milan 1 Lazio 0.


Milan ahead at halftime and no disputing the scoreline as Lazio had done virtually nothing.


For the second half Mauro Tassotti emerged from the tunnel in the place of an injured Francesco Coco. Lazio strangely made no changes.


Milan almost doubled early on when Boban hit the post but in the 53rd minute Lazio finally made a tactical substitution bringing on Beppe Signori for Pierluigi Casiraghi and the game changed.


Lazio started at last to take some initiative and equalised with their first shot towards goal. In the 56th minute a shot by Beppe Favalli from outside the area was deflected by Boban and wrongfooted the keeper,  Angelo Pagotto. A lucky goal but Milan 1 Lazio 1.


The game now became more balanced as Lazio had finally joined the show. It was Milan however who took back the lead in the 64th minute. It was a Weah header again, this time from an Eranio cross from the right, that surprised the Lazio central defenders and beat Marchegiani. Milan 2 Lazio 1.


From now on it was all Lazio. In the 72nd minute the Biancocelesti also put on a more attacking Roberto Rambaudi to replace Guerino Gottardi. In the 73rd minute Lazio thought they had equalised when José Antonio Chamot ran onto a Fuser shot and beat Pagotto. The linesman kept his flag down and set off towards midfield but the referee surprisingly blew up for offside and Fuser was so angry he got himself sent off for dissent. The goal was later proved to be ok as Weah was keeping him onside.


Lazio despite being a man down were now in the driving seat. Milan were further weakened in the 80th minute when Billy Costacurta was forced off injured and replaced by Daniele Daino, who positioned himself in  midfield and Desailly went back in defence.


In the 81st minute Lazio had a huge chance to level. Rambaudi teed up Signori who was one-on-one with Pagotto but he had his shot blocked.


The equaliser came in the 86th minute. Pavel Nedved blasted a freekick from about 30 metres out straight into the top left hand corner. A brilliant strike and Milan 2 Lazio 2.


The game had nothing more to say and ended with a point each. Neither side was over the moon but of the two Lazio could consider themselves the more satistfied. Milan were practically out of Europe for the following year while Lazio, despite being irritated with the referre, now had a three point advantage on the 7th placed team with two games left.


Lazio were still 4th, on 51 points while Milan were 9th on 43.


Who played for Milan

Pagotto, Eranio, Costacurta (80' Daino), Maldini, Coco (46' Tassotti), Boban, Desailly, Albertini, Blomqvist, Dugarry, R. Baggio (37' Weah)

Substitutes: S. Rossi, Reiziger, Vukotic

Manager: Sacchi


Who played for Lazio 

Substitutes: Orsi, Fish, Grandoni, Marcolin, Piovanelli

Manager: Zoff


Referee: Pairetto

Goals: 41' Weah, 56' Boban (og), 64' Weah, 86' Nedved



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