It was an eventful evening between Atalanta and Lazio at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo where the lead changed on three separate occasions. However, it was La Dea who managed to win 3-2 over Lazio despite being down a man for most of the second half, advancing to the Semi-Finals of the Coppa Italia. Berat Djimsiti, Ruslan Malinovskyi, and Aleksey Miranchuk each scored for Atalanta while Vedat Muriqi and Francesco Acerbi provided the goals for Lazio.
It was a disappointing result for Lazio, who held an advantage as they were up a man yet failed to capitalize and conceded a goal in the process, which turned out to be the game-winner. It was a decent performance from the Biancocelesti, however, Atalanta took full advantage of Lazio’s mistakes in the backend. Lazio will seek their revenge on Sunday as the two will rematch yet this time in Serie A.
So, what did we learn from this match?
Vedat Muriqi Starting to Prove His Worth
It was a slow start to the season for Muriqi yet in recent times the forward has started to show his full potential. When he arrived at Lazio, he arrived with a leg injury and Covid-19. He also came near the end of the summer transfer market and had little time to adjust under Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi. Muriqi then sustained a second injury which forced him to miss additional time this season.
It has been an uneventful season for Muriqi with Lazio and he has been in and out of the lineup. His performances were sub-par yet in his past three matches, he’s started to show why Lazio Sporting Director, Igli Tare, was keen to sign the Kosovan. After a superb performance last week versus Parma and coming off the bench strong this past weekend against Sassuolo, he once again followed up with a great performance against Atalanta.
Although Lazio were defeated versus Atalanta, Muriqi’s performance was positive as he showed good composure and won challenges. He scored his first goal with Lazio off a cross from Acerbi as he positioned himself well in the box and headed the ball past Atalanta goalkeeper, Pierluigi Gollini. He showed great strength and aerial height to win the challenge.
Throughout the match he made good runs, didn’t lose the ball cheaply and his hold up okay on the ball didn’t let him down. He finished the match with two fouls won, nine aerial duels won and made five clearances. He was effective at both ends of the pitch and it was encouraging to see as he arrived with plenty of praise and high regard.
Francesco Acerbi Becoming Both a Playmaker & an Offensive Threat
It was a tremendous effort from Lazio defender, Acerbi who led the way for his side. He was effective at both ends of the pitch as he was physical, decisive and clinical with his play. He scored a brilliant goal off a resilient individual effort that had him beat several Atalanta defenders before beating Gollini.
He was Lazio’s best defender and made several challenges that prevented Atalanta from furthering their lead. He was focused as he made several runs down the wing where he delivered several crosses which resulted in scoring opportunities. He set up Lazio’s first goal off a brilliant cross from the left flank that went into the box and led to Muriqi’s goal.
Aside from having a goal and an assist, he was 4/4 in ground duels won, made three key passes and three interceptions. He was involved at both ends of the pitch and gave his side a chance of winning versus Atalanta. He showed great determination, was highly motivated and did not quit. The defender displayed great character and led the way by example. He continues to be the anchor to Lazio’s backend.
Squad Rotation Becoming a Reality With Simone Inzaghi
In past seasons, Inzaghi had always been reluctant to rotate his squad due to a lack of quality depth. However, this past summer, Lazio were active in bolstering their lineup as they added many new players; in their past two Coppa Italia matches, Inzaghi has finally shown the willingness to rotate his squad, which is encouraging to see as it could help the team go a long way this season.
The likes of Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa, Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo have always been overused and relied upon in all competitions. But in this match against Atalanta, Inzaghi elected to make several changes to his lineup, notably starting Muriqi, Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro, Andreas Pereira and Gonzalo Escalante. Regardless of what the outcome was from this match, the bench players who needed minutes finally got them and showed Inzaghi what they can offer to this club.
Serie A now remains the top priority as Lazio will try to finish in a top-four spot and advance to the Champions League once again for the 2021-22 campaign.