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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Goalkeeper howler gives Lazio a late but well deserved point to celebrate New Year

Updated: Feb 7

Game 11, Serie A

Saturday, December 31

Stadio Arena Garibaldi, Pisa

Pisa Lazio 1-1

A massive blunder a few minutes from time rewards ten-man Lazio with a draw. A fair result.

Ticket owned by Dag Jenkins, photo by Dag Jenkins

The game was a very unusual New Year's Eve fixture, being played the afternoon of December 31 (never to happen again). It was a crisp but gloriously sunny day and the festive period meant Lazio had a considerable away following, also favoured by the relative proximity of the venue.

Lazio were without 4 first team players as Nelson Gutierrez, Paolo Beruatto, Claudio Sclosa and Paolo Di Canio were all missing while Pisa were without their first choice goalkeeper Alessandro Nista (who was on the bench).

Pisa started more positively than Lazio and had a shot by Davide Lucarelli blocked by Marcop Monti after two minutes and a shot by Giuseppe Incocciati that went just over the bar after four minutes. Lazio then settled and gained control of the midfield. In the 9th minute a Ruben Sosa left footed strike shaved the crossbar and Angelo Gregucci almost scored twice with headers in the 14th and 22nd minutes.

Just as Lazio seemed to be definitely getting the upper hand, Pisa scored. In the 36th minute a perfect high cross by Mario Been was met by Incocciati on the far post and headed in from close range. 1-0 to the Nerazzurri.

Lazio's reaction was to furiously attack head down but it only produced a shot by Sosa, well saved by Gianpaolo Grudina. In the 40th minute came an episode which was to inevitably influence the rest of the game. Gregucci made a reckless and completely unnecessary foul halfway into Lazio's half. It was dirty and late so he was quite rightly shown a direct red card. Well, 1-0 down at half time and with 10 men, apart from a New Year there might not be much to celebrate in Rome that evening.

The second half started with Lazio still going forward. Pisa seemed content to defend and as it was Lazio had a lot of possession but their moves tended to fizzle out once they got near the opponents area.

Pisa's intentions were confirmed when after 65 minutes they replaced striker Lamberto Piovanelli with a defender, Stefano Dianda. Lazio, in the same minute, took off Antonio Acerbis (he had played well but this was a tactical move) and threw on young forward Antonio Rizzolo, who brought some extra energy and dynamism to the Lazio forward line.

Without even the ammunition for counter attacks Pisa pulled back completely in the hope of surviving Lazio's by now increasingly desperate attempts to equalise.

Lazio were finally rewarded for their efforts and Pisa punished for their negativity with only four minutes remaining. A free kick was awarded to Lazio just outside the box. It was in a central position so Ruben Sosa after a touch by Gustavo Dezotti tried his luck at goal. And lucky he got, a pretty innocuous low and central shot was at first seemingly blocked by the Pisa keeper but then incredibly and quite inexplicably dropped over his own line. It was Christmas and New Year all in one for the Lazio fans.

To be honest Lazio, despite being in 10 men for 50 minutes, had deserved the draw. When the final whistle blew it was a fair result. Pisa felt a bit hard done by but Lazio had battled hard, never given up and attacked for most of the match. The way it came was somewhat fortuitous, to say the least, but it was nothing less than Lazio deserved.

An away point (still only two per victory) and New Year's Eve to look forward to, I for one was a happy lad heading to the station and back to Rome.

Who played for Pisa

Grudina, Cavallo, Lucarelli, Faccenda, Boccafresca, Bernazzani, Cuoghi, Gazzaneo, Incocciati, Been (81' Dolcetti), Piovanelli (65' Dianda)

Substitutes: Nista, Brandani, Severeyns

Manager: Bolchi

Who played for Lazio

Martina, Monti, Piscedda, Pin, Gregucci, Marino, Dezotti, Icardi, Muro, Acerbis (65' Rizzolo), Sosa 

Substitutes: Fiori, Di Loreto, Greco, Prodosmo

Manager: Materazzi 

Referee: Di Cola

Goals: 36' Incocciati, 86' Sosa



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