Lazio fell to a 2-1 defeat to Napoli at the weekend and Jerry Mancini looks back on what was an unconvincing performance from Maurizio Sarri’s side…
Lazio took an early lead against Napoli within the first five minutes as Mattia Zaccagni opened the scoring. However, the Biancocelesti failed to take advantage of their positive start to the game as the Partenopei scored two straight goals from Kim Min-jae and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia for a 2-1 comeback win.
This was Lazio’s first defeat at the Stadio Olimpico this season and it was the fifth straight game in which minimal changes were made to the starting lineup.
“I wanted to give an identity to the team before starting the rotation. If the side has an identity, it is easier for the others to come in and not change too much. Clearly, as the weeks wear on, we have to adapt,” Lazio manager, Maurizio Sarri, stated to Sky Sport Italia.
“We are working, it’s a good environment and we could not expect to win every game, there teams in the league stronger than us, but we’re having our say against them all. I feel the gap is getting smaller.”
Although Lazio came out strong and had a positive start, it was a disappointing result. In the first 20 minutes of the match, they controlled possession, created chances and looked dangerous in their attack. Napoli looked out of sync. However, as the match progressed, the visitors started to settle in and were the side who were more convincing in the attack.
Lazio defended for a large portion of the match and Napoli ultimately scored the equalizer and game winner. Napoli moved the ball with ease, dominated the midfield battle and gave little space or time on the ball for the Biancocelesti. A great start by the home side was unfortunately wasted.
Officiating in Serie A has often been a hot topic in the past year and once again was at the centre of attention. Late into the match, Lazio right-back, Manuel Lazzari, was elbowed by Napoli full back, Mario Rui, inside Lazio’s box. It was a penalty that was clear and obvious was never looked at by VAR and potentially changed the outcome of the game.
Far too often, matches have been affected by these types of missed calls. The technology that was brought into the league to help referees make more concise decisions continues to remain an issue. As a result, Lazio manager, Maurizio Sarri, was disappointed for a poor missed call.
“It looks pretty clear to me. There was also a foul on Luis Alberto that allowed Kim to get the header on the corner. Either those in the VAR booth are bad at their jobs or the other alternative is very worrying,” Sarri said of the officiating.
“I also don’t see how all our players got booked in a game that was substantially calm. It’s like the referees saw us against Bologna, decided they were going to clamp down on us and made that clear from the start. These are the consequences.
“I think action needs to be taken, serious action needs to be taken by the refereeing hierarchy.”
Although it was a terrible missed call, this can’t hide the fact that Napoli were the better side versus Lazio. If it weren’t for their goalkeeper, this game could have been at least 5-1 for the Partonepei. It has been an impressive start to the season for Ivan Provedel as he’s performed admirably in five straight appearances.
On Saturday evening at the Stadio Olimpico, Provedel was called upon on several occasions to make key saves for his team. In the first half, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was dispossessed by Kvaratskhelia which led to a chance within close range, yet Provedel came off his line the to smother ball and deny him. In the second half robbed Piotr Zielinski and Victor Osihmen of a goal.
Provedel was alert throughout the match as he showed great awareness, was quick to come off his line when needed and made vital saves.
This standout performance from Provedel wasn’t enough to help his side earn a point, but Lazio has finally found a goalkeeper who looks ready to provide some assurance and consistency in goal.
Jerry Mancini | GIFN