Lazio 3-1 Cagliari: match report and player ratings
Lazio obtains victory – a sense of joy and celebration that Laziali have not been able to experience for quite some time; the past seven matches in all competitions have been a winless drought consisting of four draws and three losses. These three points were acquired at the Stadio Olimpico in an early afternoon clash of Lazio vs Cagliari, in which the Biancoceleste won by a scoreline of 3-1.
Initially, it was thought that Lazio would be lining up today with a 4-back ‘Christmas tree’ formation, taking a 4-3-2-1 shape. However, Inzaghi instead chose to remain with three at the back, playing a 3-4-2-1 with Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa sitting behind Immobile in the attack and a back three of Luiz Felipe, Radu and Francesco Acerbi. Many thought the change to four in defence was a given for this clash but perhaps Inzaghi is reserving his new tactical plan for a tougher opposition. On defence, it almost looked as if Senad Lulic dropped back into a left back position, forming a back four in defensive situations – yet this could just be a result of Cagliari’s insistence on using the right-wing for their attacking moves.
Lazio vs Cagliari started positively for Inzaghi’s side; Sergej Milinkovic Savic scoring the first goal in the 12′ after a terrific work of play from Joaquin Correa. After dribbling inside the Rossoblu’s 18-yard box and producing some quick stepovers, he took a left-footed shot that forced Alessio Cragno to get to the ground to make a save. Unfortunately for him and manager Rolando Maran, Milinkovic-Savic was there to slam the rebound into the bottom left side of the goal. His first for Lazio in 90 days, emotions ran through the player and he started to cry immediately after the ball hit the back of the net. 1-0.
The next goal came from Francesco Acerbi off a corner from Luis Alberto, just minutes after a brilliant play from Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile that saw a smashing effort from the Italian hit the crossbar but fail to cross the goal line. Milinkovic-Savic flicked on the cross from the Spaniard and Acerbi got two whacks at the ball before he put Lazio up 2-0 in the 22′.
The third goal of the match once again came from the home side as a quick counter punished the visitors. Correa blocked a long ball at around the half-way line that ricocheted off him and sent Immobile on a two-on-three with Senad Lulic. The striker sent a perfectly placed ball to the Bosnian and he put Lazio up 3-0 in the 67′.
The final goal of the match came in the 90’+3′ off a VAR-reviewed penalty claim from Joao Pedro. Off a corner, needlessly, Bastos who was subbed on in the 80′ elbowed the Brazilian in the face. No initial call from the referee, after reviewing the play, he pointed to the spot and Thomas Strakosha – who was excellent as well today – was left hung to dry.
Lazio Player Ratings
(3-4-2-1): Strakosha 7; Luiz Felipe 6, Acerbi 7.5, Radu 6 (80′ Bastos 5); Marusic 6, Parolo 6.5, Milinkovic-Savic 7 (69′ Lucas Leiva 6), Lulic 6.5; Luis Alberto 7.5 (77′ Lukaku 5.5), Correa 7.5; Immobile 7.
Thoughts on the Match ( by @snhw_)
A much needed return to form for Simone Inzaghi’s side today. After a winless run, it was of the utmost importance that Lazio picked up the three points and we did exactly that. Extremely impressive performances from Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa and Francesco Acerbi rounded off a fantastic team performance and hopefully the side have regained some of the confidence that had been lost in recent weeks. It was also great to see Sergej Milinkovic-Savic get back on the scoresheet – hopefully a goal will give him the confidence he needs to return to the form we saw last season. Overall, an extremely promising game for Lazio which gives us fans some cause for optimism once again.
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