What a magical night to be a Lazio fan. The Stadio Olimpico was roaring this evening in anticipation for Lazio vs Juventus and Simone Inzaghi’s side failed to disappoint in what can only be described as the most scintillating Biancocelesti performance in recent years. Juventus remained the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top 5 leagues aside from Liverpool prior to this evening but their streak has come to an end thanks to an evening of magic from Lazio.
Juventus started strong and their early dominance did not go unrewarded as Cristiano Ronaldo put the visitors up in the 25th minute. Prior to this, Thomas Strakosha made a couple of decent saves before Paulo Dybala squared the ball for the Portuguese striker to tap in from just inside the six-yard box. Things were looking shaky from a Lazio perspective but I am not sure a single soul in the Stadio Olimpico could predict what was to follow.
However, Juventus nearly doubled their lead even before Lazio got their goal back. Federico Bernardeschi did well to control a pass from Emre Can, taking it past Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha before crossing the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a diving header saved in dramatic fashion by Strakosha.
Lazio found their equaliser just before half-time after a short corner resulted in an eventual cross by Luis Alberto which was met by a thumping header from Luiz Felipe past Wojciech Szczesny and into the Juventus net. Felipe, the rest of the team and the crowd went wild with a goal at the perfect time. This gave Lazio the momentum they needed heading into half-time.
Juventus had another opportunity to score after half-time but were once again denied by an excellent save from Thomas Strakosha. A wayward pass from the Albanian left Francesco Acerbi unable to meet it but the quick feet of Paulo Dybala were not enough to gift the Bianconeri a second goal. Things soon went from bad to worse for Juventus when an incisive Lazio counter-attack led Colombian Juan Cuadrado to commit a two-footed foul on Lazio’s Manuel Lazzari. Initially, the referee awarded Cuadrado a yellow card but upon VAR inspection, he changed his mind and sent the Juventus player off in the 69th minute.
Lazio were now on the front foot and began to apply immense pressure to their attacking movements. The Biancocelesti were looking increasingly dangerous and eventually the hosts found their second goal in the 74th minute. An incredible long pass forward from Luis Alberto found Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the penalty box, who masterfully controlled the ball and slotted it past Szczesny. Milinkovic-Savic withstood pressure from Juventus’ expensive wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt and proved just why the Serbian has been the topic of much transfer interest over the past few years.
Just a few minutes later, Lazio had the opportunity to finish the game when another fantastic counter-attack from Inzaghi’s side led to Joaquin Correa being fouled in the penalty box by Wojciech Szczesny. The referee booked Szczesny and gave Lazio a penalty which was promptly taken by Ciro Immobile and saved by the Polish keeper, who then did fantastically well to deny Lazio’s prolific poacher the rebound.
Juventus tried their best to get back into the match but were left muddled and aimless due to their numbers disadvantage. In added time, Lazio sealed the deal. Yet another counter attack left the Bianconeri scrambling to get back, with Manuel Lazzari having a shot saved by Szczesny before Felipe Caicedo pounced on the rebound and put Lazio 3-1 up.
In all, it was a fantastic showing from Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio side. What a remarkable difference in team performance and fan reaction when compared to the disastrous aftershocks of the disappointing Europa League defeats to Celtic just a month or so ago. It looks to be a promising season for Laziale everywhere and now Inzaghi will be hoping that his team can keep up their good form and try to cement a place in the top four. Lazio now sit in 3rd place in Serie A, 4 points above rivals Roma and just 3 points behind Juventus.
Lazio vs Juventus – Lazio Player Ratings
Thomas Strakosha – 8, Luiz Felipe – 8, Francesco Acerbi – 7.5, Stefan Radu – 7; Manuel Lazzari – 7.5, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – 8, Lucas Leiva – 7, Luis Alberto – 8.5, Senad Lulic – 7.5; Joaquin Correa – 8, Ciro Immobile – 7; Subs – Caicedo 7.5, Parolo 7, Cataldi N/A
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