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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Two goals that could have been ten

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Game 9, Serie A

Saturday, October 21, 2023

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Mapei Stadium

Sassuolo Lazio 0-2

Two goals, three posts, at least another five more massive chances. Sarriball is back

Official SS Lazio photo

The team

Maurizio Sarri decided to place Manuel Lazzari as right back and Adam Marusic on the left, perhaps ideal to face Domenico Berardi, a more muscular midfield with Nicolò Rovella and Matteo Guendouzi helping out Luis Alberto, plus Pedro and Taty Castellanos up front due to the not perfect physical conditions of Mattia Zaccagni and Ciro Immobile.

First half

Lazio began the game at a fast pace and Sassuolo were in dire straits right from the start. In the 3rd minute Guendouzi had a chance on entering the box but Andrea Consigli parried. A much bigger opportunity arrived in the 8th minute. Felipe Anderson on the right put a splendid low cross in for the upcoming Luis Alberto who did not make a good connection and shot wide. In the 11th minute Guendouzi volleyed the ball towards the goal from outside the box, a good attempt but again wide. In the 18th minute Sassuolo lost the ball close to the halfway line, Luis Alberto captured it and ran towards the goal. On the edge of the box he passed to Felipe Anderson, a good shot but an excellent save from the Sassuolo goalkeeper. On the subsequent corner, Luis Alberto crossed towards the front post, Alessio Romagnoli managed a header and Consigli parried, lifting the ball up in the air. When it fell it hit the crossbar.

So far lots of chances for Lazio but no goals. In the 28th minute Luis Alberto stole the ball off Ruan Tressoldi, Castellanos took control, ball to Felipe Anderson who with a left foot strike sent Consigli the wrong way and scored. The usual goal against Sassuolo for Felipetto, his favourite victim.

In the 35th minute Felipe Anderson on the right. His first cross attempt was walled by a defender but he got the ball back and tried again. This time his cross managed to get into the box, Daniel Boloca fumbled, Luis Alberto in front of Consigli chipped it over him for Lazio’s second goal of the evening.

Second half

During the interval Sassuolo made three changes: in came Martin Erlic, Matias Viña and Kristian Thorstvedt for Ruan, Marcus Pedersen and Uros Racic. The Neroverdi were immediately much more aggressive and started putting the Biancocelesti in difficulty. Lazio have never managed to solve their historically poor performances in the first ten minutes of the second half. It transcends players and managers.

Sarri, not on the bench since in the previous game he had been sent off for saying “what foul is this?”, sent word to his assistant Giovanni Martusciello to take off Rovella and Pedro and throw in Danilo Cataldi and Zaccagni. And this was promptly done in the 53rd minute.

In the 57th, Lazzari crossed from the right Luis Alberto could not quite get control of the ball and as it left the box, in came Cataldi. His big whack hit the woodwork. A pity, it would have been a sensational goal.

In the 61st minute Grégoire Defrel substituted Samu Castillejo and two minutes later the episode which could have changed the course of the game. Ivan Provedel, slightly too far forward, decided to catch the ball on the absolute limit of the box. The referee immediately waved the red card following an indication given by the linesman who was too far behind to really see what had happened. VAR fortunately concluded that Provedel had saved the ball in the box (on the line really) so no red. But this absurd refereeing decision cost Immobile a yellow card for protests. Di Bello could have waited for VAR right from the beginning, but this ref has never been very friendly with the Biancocelesti. His booking of Cataldi later on, when Danilo clearly got the ball, was typical of the Brindisi referee where Lazio are concerned.

In the 74th minute Zaccagni tried from outside the box but his shot was too central. Two minutes later Castellanos to Matias Vecino (who had come on in the 67th minute for Guendouzi), immediate shot, great save from Consigli. In the 80th minute in came Immobile and Daichi Kamada for Castellanos and a not too happy Luis Alberto.

In the 81st minute the first real opportunity for Sassuolo but Thorstvedt’s volley was saved by Provedel. In the 82nd minute a wonderful low cross from Felipe Anderson again for Vecino, unmarked in the centre of the box, his low shot went wide. Last substitution in the 88th minute for Sassuolo: Samuele Mulattieri for Andrea Pinamonti.

In the 88th minute Lazio’s last two chances for the match. Corner for the Biancocelesti and usual cross on the front post this time from Cataldi. Thorstvedt headed the ball towards his own goal, Consigli saved on the line and as the ball was about to cross it he managed to kick it out. On the next corner Zaccagni’s header hit the woodwork.

Great performance from Lazio, could have scored ten goals.

Who played for Sassuolo

Consigli, Toljan, Ruan (46' Erlic), Ferrari, Pedersen (46' Vina), Boloca, Racic (46' Thorstvedt); Berardi, Castillejo (61' Defrel), Laurientè; Pinamonti (88' Mulattieri).

Substitutes: Pegolo, Theiner, Missori, Ceide, Volpato, Lipani.

Manager: Dionisi.

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Lazzari, Patric, Romagnoli, Marusic, Guendouzi (67' Vecino), Rovella (52' Cataldi), Luis Alberto (77' Kamada), Felipe Anderson, Castellanos (77' Immobile), Pedro (52' Zaccagni).

Substitutes: Sepe, Mandas, Hysaj, Casale, Pellegrini, Gila, Basic, Isaksen.

Manager: Sarri

Referee: Di Bello

Goals: 28’ Felipe Anderson, 35’ Luis Alberto

Booked: Pedersen, Rovella, Pedro, Immobile, Luis Alberto, Cataldi


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