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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

September 16, 2003: Beşiktaş – Lazio 0-2, Champions League

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Excellent start to Champions League


Lazio win in Turkey thanks to Stam and Fiore



Source Wikipedia

The season so far


Knowing Roberto Mancini, he must have been very disappointed when the Lazio management told him that there was no money for transfers. Goodbye scudetto heroes Luca Marchegiani, Giuseppe Pancaro and Diego Simeone as well as Enrico Chiesa, Dino Baggio, Nikola Lazetic and Lucas Castroman. Welcome Roberto Muzzi, Ousmane Dabo, Demetrio Albertini, Luciano Zauri and Matteo Sereni. Not exactly what ambitious Mancini would have wanted.


But this is what a financially deeply troubled Lazio could afford and there was nothing one could do. Impossible to extend Dejan Stankovic’s contract so it seemed inevitable he would go but instead he stayed.


The season started with the Champion’s League qualifying round against Benfica. A comfortable 3-1 win at home, followed by a 1-0 away win , was money in the bank for Lazio.


In Serie A Lazio had played the first two games and had won both: Lecce 4-1 at home and Sampdoria 2-1 away.


Today’s game was the first one of the Champions League Group stage. Lazio were paired with Beşiktaş, Chelsea and Sparta Prague.


The match: Tuesday, September 16, 2003, İnönü Stadium, Istanbul


Difficult first game for Lazio in Champions League in Istanbul, especially because both Sinisa Mihajlovic and Cesar were injured. Beşiktaş started well with a chance for Kaan Dobra which went wide, but Lazio were fully in the game and had two opportunities with Stefano Fiore, saved by Oscar Cordoba, and Claudio Lopez who shaved the post. In the 13th minute a Federico Giunti shot was parried by Angelo Peruzzi. Neither of the teams however created anything apart from shots from outside the box.


The equilibrium was broken by Lazio in the 37th minute. Fiore took a corner and Jaap Stam headed the ball in. Beşiktaş immediately reacted and Peruzzi was miraculous on a Tumer Metin shot.


In the second half the Biancocelesti seemed in control but there was immediate danger when Metin headed towards Daniel Pancu whose shot from outside the box only just missed the target. In the 66th minute the Lazio goalkeeper saved a Sergen Yalcin free kick into corner. The Turks last attempt was with Sinan Kaloglu who hit the top of the crossbar in the 75th minute. Two minutes later, Lazio closed the match. Bernardo Corradi to Fiore who, from a difficult angle, beat Cordoba.


An excellent start to the campaign for the Biancocelesti.


Who played for Beşiktaş


Cordoba, Zago, Ronaldo, Yildirim, Dobra, Tayfur, Giunti (72' Sinan), Ibrahim, Metin (56' Hassan), Pancu, Mansiz (56' Sergen).

Substitutes: Kursunlu, Emre Asik, Aydyn, Okan Koc.

Manager: Lucescu.


Who played for Lazio


Peruzzi, Oddo, Fernando Couto, Stam, Favalli, Conciecao (60' Giannichedda), Albertini, Stankovic, Fiore, Corradi (83' Liverani), C. Lopez (70' Muzzi)

Substitutes: Sereni, Zauri, Negro, Inzaghi

Manager: Mancini


Referee: Nielsen (Denmark)


Goals: 37’ Stam, 77’ Fiore



What happened next


The group stage was dismal despite the excellent start with the win away against Besiktas. Two home draws against Sparta Prague and the Turkish side, plus a double defeat against Chelsea meant that Lazio had to win away against the Czechs in the last match of the group stage. Despite their numerous chances, Lazio lost in injury time and were last in the group, hence no UEFA Cup consolation.


In the Campionato, Lazio were fairly inconsistent. Good start, but then they just seemed to forget how to play in some matches and the 3-0 loss at Siena in late November was the prime example. However, when all seemed doom and gloom, Lazio suddenly woke up and beat Juventus 2-0 and Inter 2-1. Recovery? No. As usual for Mancini teams, January was the most negative month. Just 4 points in the previous season and just four in this one. They stayed fourth for quite a while but then slipped to sixth after losing to Juventus in the 29th game.


However with three games to play, Lazio were fifth, just one point behind Inter who were in the Champions League zone. But in the two games against Reggina and Brescia, the Biancocelesti only managed to pick up one point so for 2004-05 it would be UEFA Cup football.


But the real Lazio were seen in Coppa Italia. After easily dispatching Modena, in January Lazio had to face Parma in the quarterfinals. Stankovic scored both at home and away and gave Lazio the pass for the semi final. It was his final game for Lazio as he was then sold to Inter.


In the semi-final Lazio surprisingly won in Milan in the first leg and in the second leg at home put on a wonderful display, perhaps one the best games Lazio has ever played at least in its recent history, and won 4-0.


The final was against Juventus with the first leg at home. Lazio won 2-0 but it could have been even better as the Biancocelesti played at a similar level to the Milan game and even missed a penalty. The return match was complicated and Lazio went down 2-0, but a splendid header from the worst player on the pitch up to that moment, Corradi, followed by a Fiore equaliser, gave Lazio their fourth Coppa Italia.


The financial difficulties left the players and the manager uncertain about the future and many used the season to plan for the next. Mancini started secret talks with Inter and tempted most of Lazio’s players to go with him. Stam told the club that he had no intention of continuing to play for Lazio once his contract was over but was not interested in following Mancini.


The 2003-2004 season was the end of an era. Nothing would ever be the same. Claudio Lotito was on his way.


Lazio 2003-04

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals Scored

Serie A

34

16

8

10

52

Coppa Italia

8

6

2

-

16

Champions League

8

3

2

3

10

Total

50

25

12

13

76

Top Five Appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Fiore

47

32

7

8

Corradi

46

32

6

8

Oddo

44

31

7

6

Favalli

43

29

6

8

Stam

42

29

6

7

Top Goal Scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Fiore

16

8

6

2

Corradi

12

10

1

1

Inzaghi

10

6

1

3

Cesar

8

6

1

1


Let’s talk about Jaap Stam


Source Wikipedia

Jaap Stam must be considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, on a par with Alessandro Nesta. Strong, powerful, fast, mean, he had all the qualities a defensive player needed. He also looked frightening at times!!!! In his career he won a Dutch Championship (PSV Eindhoven 1996-97), three Premierships (1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01 with Manchester United), a Champions League (1998-99 with Man U), an Intercontinental Cup (1999 again with Man U), two KNVB Cups (PSV Eindhoven in 1995-96 and Ajax in 2006-07), a FA Cup (1998-99 with Man U), a Coppa Italia with Lazio (2003-04), a Super Coppa (2004 with Milan), and four Johan Cruyff Shields (1996 and 1997 with PSV, 2006 and 2007 with Ajax). That is a lot of silverware!!!


He was born in Kampen on July 17, 1972 and began his career in the local team. He made his professional debut for FC Zwolle in the Eerste Divisie (second tier) on August 15 1992 and became a first team regular. In 1993 he signed with Cambuur Leeuwarden in Eredivisie but the club was relegated at the end of the season. Stam stayed however and in 1995 moved up to the top tier by signing with Willem II. He impressed so much that after a year he moved to PSV Eindhoven. There he won everything he could possibly win at domestic level and in 1998 Manchester United bought him for a record £10.6 million, the highest amount paid for a Dutch player up to then.


With United, Stam dominated European and English football for three years winning literally everything, including the treble. In 2000-01 however he suffered a bad injury. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson thought he would never be the same. “He’d been out for months and, when he came back, Steve McClaren and I thought he had lost a yard of pace. We played Fulham and he didn’t have a good game, and at that moment Lazio came in and offered £16.5m. That was a lot of money for a centre back”.


Lazio President had had a plan in the summer transfer window of 2001, to Sell Nesta and buy Stam. He could not get the right price for his star defender and captain but decided to sign Stam just the same. So the big Dutch defender joined the Biancocelesti. Having Stam and Nesta in the team must be every manager's dream, but Lazio had a poor year and a mediocre manager (Alberto Zaccheroni). Stam was also suspended for four months when they found nandrolone in his blood, a banned substance. As a consequence he only played 18 games. In the next two years under Roberto Mancini, Lazio played quite well and Stam was almost perfect. Loved by the fans, feared by opponents, his defence partners really enjoyed themselves. In a match against Ancona, Pietro Parente had the brilliant idea of trying to kick Stam after a tackle. The Dutchman got up and grabbed his opponent by the throat. In the footage one can see the look of fear on the player's face.


Ultimately Stam played three years in Rome appearing 94 times and scoring 4 goals. He was part of the team which won the Coppa Italia in 2004.


In his last year at Lazio, the club was in serious financial difficulty so there was no chance his contract could be renewed. Mancini tried all year to get him to sign for Inter, where he himself was going , but Stam preferred Milan so Lazio sold him to the Rossoneri. Despite being one of the strongest defenders in Serie A when he played with Lazio, with Milan he was not quite as effective but was still pretty good. The Rossoneri reached the final of the Champions League in 2005 against Liverpool. Milan were 3-0 up at the end of the first half, in the second however, the Reds scored three goals in six minutes to equalise. Milan then lost on penalties.


In 2006 he went back home and joined Ajax where he played his final two years of active football winning more silverware. Plagued by injuries he announced his retirement on October 29 2007.


Stam had a lengthy international career playing 67 times for his country (three goals). He participated in the 1998 World Cup (The Netherlands arrived 4th), Euro 2000 (beaten by Italy in the semi-final) and Euro 2004 (beaten by Portugal in the semi-final).


After retirement, Stam went into coaching. After being a talent scout for Manchester United from 2008-11 he became caretaker manager for Zwolle in 2009 and in 2010 assistant to manager Art Langler. In 2011 he joined the Ajax youth sector and in 2013 he was assistant to Frank de Boer. In 2014 he became manager of Jong Ajax (Ajax’s second team) with Andries Ulderink.


In 2016 he became head coach of Reading in the Championship. The team reached the play-off final but were beaten by Huddersfield Town. He resigned in 2018. In December 2018 he was nominated head coach for Pec Zwolle taking the team from third bottom to 13th place. For the next season he was manager at Feyenoord but resigned in October. In May 2020 he became head coach at FC Cincinnati but the team came last in the MLS and he was sacked.


Stam now does punditry for Viaplay Sport, a streaming service.


Jaap Stam is very fondly remembered at Lazio and together with Pino Wilson and Nesta, he is one of the strongest centre backs Lazio have ever had.


Lazio Career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

UEFA Cup

2001-02

18 (1)

13 (1)

-

5

-

2002-03

34

28

2

-

4

2003-04

42 (3)

29 (2)

6

7 (1)

-

Total

94 (4)

70 (3)

5

12 (1)

4

Sources



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