Following Lazio’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Bologna, Jerry Mancini reviews the performances from the Biancocelesti stars…
Lazio began their 2022/23 Serie A campaign with a 2-1 win against Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico. Ciro Immobile led the way as he scored the winner in the 79th minute. This is the fourth straight season in which the Italian has scored in the Biancocelesti’s season opener.
Additionally, Lazio got an own goal from De Silvestri while Marko Arnautovic scored the lone goal for Bologna.
Lazio had an aggressive start to the match as they came out strong and pressured Bologna’s backend. However, their quick start was overshadowed by a mistake that fortunately didn’t haunt the club in the end.
Lazio goalkeeper – Luis Maximiano, made his debut in goal for Lazio. In the 6th minute, he misjudged his run off the line and corralled the ball outside the box. As a result, the Spaniard received a red card and had Lazio down a man early.
Fortunately, Ivan Provedel stepped up in place of Maximiano and provided a stellar performance for Lazio. He made three timely saves, his passing out from the backend was stellar and he looked confident when coming off his line. Maximiano and Provedel were both acquired this transfer market.
Lazio trailed 1-0 at half-time and found themselves in a good position to comeback as Adama Soumaoro was sent off in injury time. The second half began in 10 versus 10 scenario and it was a new game for both sides.
However, when Lazio were down a man or trailed 1-0, they showed little signs of weakness. The backend defended really well and continued to create chances in the final third. This was an area of their game last season that was a weakness and early signs are encouraging.
As a result, Lazio’s relentlessness and ability to play with confidence paid off as they scored in the 68th and 79th minute to mount a strong comeback and win their first game of the season.
“I liked the atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico, but also the attitude of the squad,” Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.
“It seemed as if we were cursed at the start, seeing as all the incidents were going against us, but we stayed in the game and even turned it around. That was by no means easy considering it was 32-33 degrees in the first match of the season and we were down to 10 men for 90 minutes including stoppages.
“I was happy to see that at half-time, everyone felt convinced we could turn it around.”
While the response from Lazio in the second half was positive, one player who has turned it around and proven he can play in a back four is Manuel Lazzari.
Last season, the full back began the year in and out of the lineup under Sarri. He struggled to convince the Lazio manager that he belonged in the starting lineup. However, as the season progressed, so did Lazzari’s game and at the end of the campaign he deservedly earned his spot back.
Lazzari has started the 2022/23 Serie A season in the best possible way and has shown that he is not ready to relinquish his spot at right-back. The Italian was one of the standout players for Lazio as he used his pace effectively, made several strong runs down the right wing and created several scoring opportunities.
Lazio’s first goal was due to Lazzari being confident in his run and getting into a good position to send in a cross into the goal area that fortunately resulted in an own goal. He finished the match with four fouls won, one successful dribble, two clearances and one interception.
“When a player makes improvements, he deserves the credit,” Sarri said of Lazzari proving he can play in a back four.
“He thought that he wasn’t suited to a four-man defense, but day by day, he realized that he can do it.”
Alessio Romagnoli made his anticipated debut for Lazio and it was a positive start. While he put forth a convincing performance, it was his ability to communicate with the defense that was encouraging. Last season, far too often the backend was disorganized.
Throughout the match, he did a good job communicating with Patric, Adam Marusic and Lazzari. He kept the players in line and provided stability. This could come a long way this season in improving their defense.
Jerry Mancini | GIFN