A much needed three points for the Biancocelesti away from home in the midweek Matchday 6 clash against Udinese at the Stadio Friuli. After blowing out Ballardini’s Genoa 4-1 on Sunday, Laziali were finally ecstatic to see the goals come flying in and were hoping that Simone Inzaghi’s side were able to keep up and continue that fine form heading to Udine.
Previous Match: 4-1 Victory Over Genoa
It was the usual prolific Italian scorer Ciro Immobile who lead the attack in a 3-5-1-1 formation. However, instead of his usual partner in crime, Spaniard trequartista Luis Alberto, Felipe Caicedo was given the nod to start alongside the Italian. This proved to work out amazingly as Caicedo was involved in not only the first goal in which he scored a diving header but also the second as he won the ball off the Genoa defender for Marco Parolo to then find Immobile who put the ball in the back of the net. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic slotted home his first goal of the season after a perfectly placed header into the bottom left corner, before Joaquin Correa displayed his fine dribbling skills (cameo of more to come) as he took the ball past the Genoa defender, took a left-footed strike that the goalkeeper saved, before Immobile scored his second of the game off the rebound. A terrific result for Lazio, who were now on a four-game win streak.
The Starting Eleven: Udinese vs Lazio
Looking at the match between Udinese vs Lazio, it was a totally different starting eleven from the usual biancocelesti we have seen for the first part of the season:
Now, being a Lazio fan, most would have thought that Mr. Inzaghi was somewhat insane: this was a mixture of a starting eleven and reserve team for one (with some players such as Luiz Felipe and Luis Alberto playing out of their regular position), secondly, they were away from home so attempting this was a very bold move, and finally, Udinese were a side that have started the Serie A TIM campaign very well with a 2W-2D-1L record (drew the first match to Parma 2-2, defeated Sampdoria 1-0, lost to Fiorentina 1-0, drew Torino 1-1, defeated Chievo 2-0). However, the exact opposite was seen on the pitch; Inzaghi had a game plan and stuck to it. Although the goals came much later than he would have hoped, a round of applause needs to be sent to him for the planning and implementation of this new lineup for the match.
The back-line consisted of the familiar faces of Thomas Strakosha, Wallace, Acerbi, and Luiz Felipe, the only player out of his regular position. The Brazilian, making his return to the starting eleven since picking up an injury early in the season, was given trust from Inzaghi to start from the left side, even though he is not left-footed. This just goes to show how confident of a good defender the Italian tactician must believe Luiz Felipe to be. In the midfield, Senad Lulic started in his regular right wing-back position, with the opposite being held by Patric, the Spaniard who was yet to the start for the club (until Udinese). Marco Parolo took his regular right central position, with Luca Leiva and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic being left to the sidelines, therefore leaving room to Croatian Milan Badelj who made his second start of the season. The final player in that trio was Luis Alberto – we usually see him further up the pitch, but it was ideal to hold him back that allowed Correa freedom up top (and receive his first start in the Serie A TIM since joining Lazio). In attack, as aforementioned, were Correa and Caicedo.
The goals in the match came from two of the newcomers who arrived this past summer: the first was from Italian and experience center-half Francesco Acerbi (61′). The former Sassuolo man has been a rock for Lazio so far this season, guiding and helping them secure victory from the back. This match, he decided to take the matter into his own hands to find a goal as well. Off a Luis Alberto free kick from the left side of the pitch, goalkeeper Simone Scuffet made a save before the ball landed in midair towards Acerbi, who volleyed the ball into an open net. 0-1. A moment of sheer joy for the player, who was able to celebrate his first goal in the biancocelesti colors.
The second goal of the match for Lazio came from Joaquin Correa (66′). We have been waiting to see the true Joaquin Correa Lazio paid so much money for and he did not fail to disappoint in this match. After receiving the ball on the far left of the pitch at a distance from goal at the 18-yard box, the Argentine worked his way down the left flank inwards towards Scuffet in goal. With one player ahead of him (Jens Stryger Larsen), Correa pulled off a few stepovers and stops and jukes, before taking the ball past the defender with pure skill and placing the ball in the opposite right corner from a close and tight angle to make it 0-2.
Udinese did not give up however although being down two goals. Defender Bram Nuytinck scored what he called “the best goal of my career” late in the second half (80′). Off a free kick from a long way out, the defender was left wide open on the far side, as he went for an overhead kick. It is to note that this was considered an own goal at the end of the day as Milan Badelj’s head granted the ball to go in the net, past Strakosha (took a deflection). This made the score 2-1 and Udinese pressed for a second, but to no avail.
For Udinese, there were two “Man of the Matches”. These two players were 24-year old Argentine Rodrigo de Paul and 23-year old Ivorian centrocampista Seko Fofana. Both players have played in every match so far this season and there is a strong reason for this. Every time both players were on the ball, something positive came out of it as they were a threat to Lazio.
Rodrigo had one shot on goal, the highest possession by percentage in the match (6.8%) with 79 touches of the ball, the most attempted passes with 58 (74% accurate; 43 of 58), and the joint most corner kicks taken with 4.
Seko had a 7.4 match rating (the joint second-best overall performance rating in the match), the most shots taken (6) and on target (4), the fifth most touches with 73 (5.2% possession by percentage), 42 of 48 passes successful (88%), and 2 dribbles won.
As a whole, Udinese had 13 total attempts toward goal (9 from open play and 3 from set pieces), 498 total passes (18 crosses, 70 long balls, and 410 short passes), and 2 yellow cards (Ignacio Pussetto, William Troost-Ekong)
For Lazio, Laziali will struggle to decide between Francesco Acerbi and Joaquin Correa for “Man of the Match”. Similar to Udinese, it’s a close call and they both deserve it for securing their first two goals in the match, and starting and finishing the full 90′.
Correa had the best match rating in this match with an 8.2, 2 total shots (1 on target), 55 touches of the ball, a pass success percentage of 89% (33 of 37 passes), 2 successful dribbles (joint most in the match), 3 offensive aerial battles won, and of course one goal.
As a whole, Lazio had 10 total attempts toward goal (8 from open play and 2 from set pieces), 469 total passes (11 crosses, 58 long balls, and 400 short passes), and 6 yellow cards (Senad Lulic, Ciro immobile, Milan Badelj, Bastos, Riza Durmisi, Thomas Strakosha).