Lazio limped into the Marassi to take on Genoa in full crisis mode. The Biancocelesti, who’ve played a brutal gauntlet of 6 games in 3 weeks were missing 7 players including Milinkovic-Savic, Parolo, Lukaku, Wallace, Bastos, Luis Alberto, Berisha and Durmisi. Worse, Inzaghi was forced to start Immobile despite not being at full health and missing the midweek clash against Sevilla.
The game began at a frenetic pace as Genoa pushed Lazio hard the first 15 minutes before the match settled into a rather cagey affair. Both sides struggled to establish a flow to to their games and traded a few chances as Strakosha made several critical blocks to keep Lazio in the match.
But it was Milan Badelj who clinically finished a tiki-taka sequence with Cataldi and Immobile to send Lazio into the half-time break up 1-0.
A Stefan Radu injury in the middle of the second half forced Inzaghi’s hand further as the Lazio coach opted to slot Lucas Leiva into the CB position and drop Lulic and Marusic into more defensive positions. The change gave Bruno Jordao his first appearance in a Serie A match. The Portuguese youngster showed a great deal of promise and was one of the few positive personnelle stories on the afternoon for Inzaghi. Lazio pushed on bravely and managed to create a few opportunities including a wonderfully timed Milan Badelj strike from long range that found the bar.
But the weight of accumulated injuries and and improvised tactics put Lazio increasingly on the back foot and Genoa managed to tie the match in the 75th minute off a very unfortunate rebound as Leiva’s attempt at a clearance rebounded off of Sanabria’s shin guards and into the net. Strakosha could do little about about it.
Following the tying goal the game took an increasingly chippy turn as Banti handed out 4 yellow cards. Lazio managed to do little in the last fifteen minutes of the match and Genoa pressed without necessarily creating any serious chances. The game looked destined to end in a draw until the 94th minute when a Caicedo failed to get his head on a cross which fell to Criscito who managed to slot the ball onto the far post from outside the box. LAzio leaves Genoa heartbroken and pointless.
There is no question that Lazio was severely undermanned for this match and that the injuries tied Inzaghi’s hands to certain extent. Radu’s injury certainly made things worse. However, once again, there are some serious questions about Inzaghi’s decisions. At the moment we don’t know enough about why Romulo was taken off and why Marusic started. Inserting Leiva into the CB position in a 5 man defensive unit rather than transitioning to a more straightforward 4-4-2 formation is perplexing – particularly considering that the deeply important Brazilian was on card accumulation and risked missing the derby with another card.
On a positive note, Milan Badelj played his best game of the season. The deeply experienced Croatian has disappointed since coming to the club in the summer. Outings such as this could not come at a more important time. Inzaghi will need to lift his squad up quickly. Lazio travel to Sevilla on Wednesday where their work is cut out for them.
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