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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

September 8, 2000: Lazio Inter 4-3, Super Coppa

Updated: Mar 23

Frightening


Claudio Lopez scores a brace as Lazio win the Super Coppa



The season so far


The previous season Lazio won their second scudetto in dramatic circumstances. In the final game of the season Juventus had a two-point lead over the Biancocelesti. While Lazio had finished their match at the Olimpico beating Reggina 3-0, between the first and second half of Perugia-Juventus there was a massive storm that drenched the pitch. The second half started an hour later than it should have. Perugia scored with Alessandro Calori and Juve were unable to turn the game around. Lazio had won!!!


In the summer transfer window, President Sergio Crganotti had decided that Lazio needed a strong centre-forward and a more reliable goalkeeper. In came Hernan Crespo (Parma), one of the best forwards in the world, and Angelo Peruzzi (Inter), one of the best goalkeepers. Other signings included forward Claudio Lopez (Valencia), midfielder Dino Baggio (Parma) and the return of Roberto Baronio from his loan at Reggina. Also bought were midfielders Stefano Fiore and Giuliano Giannichedda from Udinese but they were left to the Bianconeri on loan for an extra year. Leaving Lazio were Alen Boksic (Middlesbrough), Dario Marcolin (Sampdoria), Gianpiero Pinzi (Udinese), Marco Ballotta (Inter), Matias Almeyda and Sergio Conceicao to Parma as partial payment for Crespo.


The problem was that Lazio had been unable to sign a right-winger. Lazio had tried to get Boudewijn Zenden from Barcelona but had failed. This may be a problem at least until January with the winter transfer window. We’ll see.


The season was going to be a strange one since, due to the Olympic Games in Sydney, the Italian Federation decided to start the Campionato on October 1. However, Champions League would be played in September just the same so the Italian teams involved in the European competitions would play with few games in their legs. Not ideal.


The first game of the season was however the Super Coppa. Lazio, having won the scudetto and Coppa Italia last season, would play against the national Cup’s runners-up: Inter.


The match: Friday, September 8, 2000, Stadio Olimpico, Rome


Lazio had an immediate chance after just a minute. Crespo on the right crossed in the middle for Lopez who missed the ball in front of Ballotta. A minute later Inter scored. Francisco Farinos put a long ball over the Lazio defence and Robbie Keane beat Alessandro Nesta and Sinisa Mihajlovic and lobbed the ball over Peruzzi.


In the 10th minute a Mihajlovic free kick was easily saved by Ballotta. In the 12th, Pavel Nedved in the gap to Lopez who went past Ballotta but was unable to put the ball in the middle. The Inter defence cleared. In the 22nd minute, a free kick for Lazio. Juan Sebastian Veron crossed into the box, great header by Diego Simeone, great save by Ballotta. The ball was still in play, Lopez crossed, the Inter goalkeeper got a hand to the ball but gave Beppe Pancaro the shot, the Inter defence cleared on both his attempts, ball back to the middle of the Inter half, Veron tried a shot which hit Simeone and in the end arrived to Crespo but his shot was weak.


Keane almost made it two for Inter in the 25th minute. Another long pass over the Lazio defence this time by Vladimir Jugovic found Keane, who dribbled past Beppe Favalli and found himself alone in front of Peruzzi. Here the Irishman made the mistake of trying to dribble past the big goalkeeper instead of shooting and Peruzzi was able to grab the ball and avoid trouble.


In the 33rd minute Favalli from the left crossed, the ball was deflected by an Inter player and reached Claudio Lopez just inside the box. The Argentinian stopped it with his chest and shot a low volley which beat Ballotta. First goal for the new Lazio signing.


In the 39th minute, Dejan Stankovic on the counter attack, long pass to Crespo on the left who chested it down and dribbled past Ivan Cordova. Lopez did not give his compatriot any time to intervene as he plunged onto the ball and with a left strike beat Ballotta for the second time. 2-1 for Lazio.


After 35 seconds of the second half there was a cross from the right into the Inter box, Vampeta grabbed Nedved as he was about to shoot and pulled him down. Penalty for Lazio that Mihajlovic comfortably scored taking Lazio to 3-1.


Game over? No. Free kick for Inter in the 62nd minute. Farinos tried a shot over the wall but it hit Nestor Sensini and ended in the back of the net with Peruzzi unable to save it.


After a few half chances for both sides, Lazio made it four. In the 75th minute Veron stole the ball off Fabio Macellari and moved towards the Inter box. He waited for the right moment and then made a wonderful pass to Stankovic who chipped the ball over Ballotta.


A minute later, Inter scored a comical goal. Clarence Seedorf from the right to Vampeta who crossed the ball into the box. Everybody stopped to see who would get it, nobody did, ball straight into the net. Lazio 4 Inter 3.


Inter attacked, Lazio panicked. After a couple of chances for the Nerazzurri, in the 88th minute Keane crossed from the right, Hakan Sukur jumped higher than the Lazio defence but his header was too high.


Lazio controlled the rest of the game and conquered yet another trophy.


The Biancocelesti were frightening in attack, but a little rusty in defence. However, a good start to the season.


Who played for Lazio


Peruzzi, Pancaro (69’ Gottardi), Mihajlovic, Nesta, Favalli, Stankovic (81’ Lombardo), Simeone, Veron, Nedved (54’ Sensini), Claudio Lopez, Crespo

Substitutes: Marchegiani, Colonese, Pesaresi, S. Inzaghi

Manager: Eriksson


Who played for Inter


Ballotta, M. Serena, Cordoba, Domoraud, Macellari, Vampeta, Farinos, Jugovic (60' Peralta), Seedorf (91' Colombo), Sukur, Keane.

Substitutes: Varaldi, Fissore, Iaia, Cauet, Di Biagio.

Manager: Lippi.


Referee: Farina


Goals: 2’ Keane, 33’ Lopez, 38’ Lopez, 47’ Mihajlovic (pen), 62’ Farinos, 75’ Stankovic, 76’ Vampeta



What happened next


Lazio did not start too well and by the end of the year were fourth with 21 points, way off Roma who were leading the Serie A eight points ahead. There had been a lot of problems. This first issue was that Sven-Goran Eriksson had signed a contract with the English FA to manage England starting from the summer of 2001. This meant that it was going to be his last year with Lazio. This created a negative psychological situation in the team, uncertain of what would happen in the future. Secondly, Crespo got injured early on and he was taking his time in getting back into form. Thirdly, the team was badly missing a right-winger since Attilio Lombardo was past his prime and Dejan Stankovic was fulfilling the task rather reluctantly. Fourthly, Claudio Lopez, Lazio’s star summer signing, got injured early on in the season and would be out for the rest of the year. There was still optimism but in the first game of the new year Lazio lost at home and Eriksson, realising that he might be the problem, resigned. The team was given to Dino Zoff who stepped down as President to become head coach. In January Lazio finally bought Karel Poborsky and Lucas Castroman to fill the void created by selling Conçeicao.


In campionato once Zoff arrived things improved and Lazio with three games to go were second behind Roma but five points behind. The Giallorossi were tiring but Lazio threw away a game against Inter where they had 100 chances to score their second goal but the Nerazzurri then equalised in injury time. If Lazio had won they would have been only three points behind.


Coming into the final game, Roma were top, Juventus two points behind and Lazio three. In the last game Roma had to face Parma who decided not to play and allowed the Giallorossi to win their third scudetto. At that point the Biancocelesti, who were winning at Lecce, threw in the towel and lost the game.


In the Champions League Lazio managed to go through to the second group phase but were eliminated by Real Madrid and Leeds United. In Coppa Italia, the Biancocelesti were beaten by Udinese in the quarterfinals.


Pavel Nedved was the player with most appearances (46) and Crespo the leading goal scorer (28). The Argentine was also the leading Serie A goalscorer with 26 goals.


Lazio 2000-01

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

Serie A

34

21

6

7

65

Coppa Italia

4

2

1

1

9

Champions League

12

5

3

4

22

Super Coppa

1

1

-

-

4

Total

51

29

10

12

100

Top five appearances

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Super Coppa

Nedved

46

31

4

10

1

Pancaro

43

31

1

10

1

Simeone

41

30

2

8

1

Crespo

40

32

1

6

1

Nesta

39

29

1

8

1

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Super Coppa

Crespo

28

26

-

2

-

Nedved

13

9

1

3

-

Salas

8

7

1

-

-

Mihajlovic

8

4

1

2

1

Inzaghi

7

4

-

3

-

Lopez

7

-

-

5

2

Let's talk about Claudio Lopez


Source Wikipedia

Claudio Lopez was born in Rio Tercero, Argentina, on July 17, 1974. He started his footballing career with Estudiantes but debuted professionally with Racing Club where he played 116 games with 25 goals as a left-winger in four years. In 1996 he moved to Europe and signed for Valencia. It was a marvellous team full of interesting players. In 1999 they won the Copa del Rey and the SuperCopa and in 2000 played in the final of the Champions League losing to Real Madrid.


Lazio that year had encountered the speed of Claudio Lopez in an infamous night in Valencia in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Without their star defender Alessandro Nesta, Claudio Lopez went through the Lazio defence like a hot blade through butter. The Biancocelesti lost 5-2 and in the return match could not go beyond a 1-0. To think that when Valencia were drawn everybody was happy!!!


Claudio Lopez in that match was phenomenal, scoring two goals. He immediately became a target for President Sergio Cragnotti and the club signed him in the summer of 2000 after having won the double, scudetto and Coppa Italia.


His first game for the Biancocelesti was the Super Coppa against Inter. He was devastating, delighting fans with his speed and making them dream of the future thanks to a good partnership with centre forward Hernan Crespo. After winning the Super Coppa however, Claudio Lopez suffered a bad injury against Brescia on November 1, and missed most of the season. He returned in 2001 scoring his first goal in the Serie A on August 26 in the home game against Piacenza. When he came back he was still a great player but not as devastating as what we had seen in the game against Inter and previously with Valencia. He did well, and sometimes one did see the old magic, but it was another Lazio. Under Roberto Mancini the team reached a Champions League qualification in 2002-03 and won the Coppa Italia in 2004.


But things were changing. Lazio were deeply in debt, Cragnotti was forced to resign and sell the club, then bought by Claudio Lotito. The first thing Lotito needed to do was to cut costs, so a number of players had to leave. Some, like Stefano Fiori and Bernardo Corradi, were sold to cover previous debts. Claudio Lopez as a consequence was sold to América in Mexico. He stayed there three years winning a championship as well as the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2007 he returned to Racing Club. His contract ended in December so in March 2008 he announced that he had signed for Kansas City Wizards in the MLS. Two years later he joined Colorado Rapids. On May 19 2011 he announced that he was going to retire, but he still wanted to work in football. As such he became sports director for his last team.


Claudio Lopez has 54 caps with Argentina with 10 goals. He participated in the 1998 World Cup scoring a goal in the quarterfinal defeat against The Netherlands. He also played in the 2002 World Cup where Argentina were eliminated in the group stage.


Claudio Lopez played and scored for Lazio. He was an incredibly fast left-winger, very talented, who knew how to play. He had one major flaw: he did everything with his left foot, the right one was used only for walking. I really think that he never came back quite as good as he was before the 2000 injury. But the player who did come back was still top class.


Lazio Career

Season

Toal games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

UEFA Cup

Super Coppa

2000-01

23 (7)

16

-

6 (5)

-

1 (2)

2001-02

38 (12)

29 (10)

1

8 (2)

-

-

2002-03

47 (17)

34 (15)

4

-

9 (2)

-

2003-04

36 (4)

27 (4)

5

4

-

-

Total

144 (40)

106 (29)

10

18 (7)

9 (2)

1 (2)

Sources


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