Lazio striker Felipe Caicedo is no stranger to scoring a late goal. In fact, it has seemingly become a specialty in his game, which recent statistics suggest.
According to a post seen on DAZN Italia’s Twitter page earlier today, the 32-year-old Ecuadorian striker has scored 25% of his goals in Serie A from the 89th minute onwards, proving to be incredibly decisive in the key moments for the Roman club.
With his clinicalness and consistency in front of goal in the final minutes, it’s safe to say that he’s always capable of a game-winning goal, so you shouldn’t ignore these football bets if you’re willing to take a chance regarding him scoring a late winner for Lazio.
Other statistics also highlight how Caicedo is actually having his best performing season so far for the Biancocelesti domestically, starting with his expected goals (xG).
This season, the 32-year-old Ecuadorian is currently averaging 0.56 xG per 90 minutes, his highest in a Lazio shirt so far. Last season, despite scoring nine goals in 30 appearances, his average xG per 90 was 0.38. In his first two seasons at Lazio, this figure was 0.50 followed by 0.42, which seemingly suggested that his performance level was dropping as the years went by.
His shots per 90 minutes and shots on target per 90 minutes stats have also risen, being 3.03 and 1.19 respectively, compared to 1.92 and 0.90 last season. All of this suggests that Caicedo is keen to stay in Rome, despite many links away over the last 12 months.
Last summer, he was linked with a move away from the club, with Saudi Professional League club Al-Shabab FC and Qatar Stars League side Al-Gharafa pushing the hardest for his signature. The latter even offered the Ecuadorian a yearly salary of €7-8 million; a significant increase compared to what he currently earns in Rome.
However, in the end, his move to Qatar never materialized. President Claudio Lotito was said to be holding out for a transfer fee of more than €10 million, which never came, and coach Simone Inzaghi spoke with the player on a regular basis about remaining in Rome.
The reason for his expected departure? Lazio had just spent approximately €20 million on Fenerbahce’s Vedat Muriqi, who was rumoured to be the 32-year-old’s replacement.
Although starting the season behind new signing Muriqi in the pecking order, with the Kosovan failing to impress in the first half of the season due to a combination of factors – including injury, testing positive for COVID-19 and struggling to adapt to Italy – Caicedo was quick to continue to take advantage of the situation and prove his worth.
So far this season, the 32-year-old Caicedo made 27 appearances; 22 in Serie A and five in the UEFA Champions League. In this period, he has scored a total of nine goals; eight in the Italian top flight and one in Europe’s top competition.
His first strike came as a consolation goal in Lazio’s second game of the season against Atalanta. Down 3-0 and with the game seemingly out of reach, the Ecuadorian found himself unmarked in the Nerazzurri’s 18-yard box. He controlled a cross from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and slotted the ball past Marco Sportiello in the 57th minute.
His second, third and fourth goals were his most important strikes this campaign. He was clinical when it mattered most to Inzaghi and the club. These came against Torino (Serie A Matchday 6), Zenit St. Petersburg (Champions League Matchday 3) and Juventus (Serie A Matchday 7) in back-to-back-to-back fixtures.
In the fixture against the Granata, the match was tied at 2-2 until Sasa Lukic scored in the 88th minute to put Torino in the lead. This meant that Lazio had to throw everything forward for the final minutes of the fixture. In the 95th minute, this paid off, as they secured a penalty (following a handball from Nicolas N’Koulou) which Ciro Immobile converted. Although Caicedo had entered the match in the 73rd minute, it was not until the 98th minute where he would leave his mark. The match looked like it would finish as a draw, but the striker had other things in mind. After a failed clearance from the Granata, he was first to the loose ball and he put his shot in between the legs of Salvatore Sirigu from close range to give Lazio all three points.
Following this fixture, Lazio travelled to Russia to take on Zenit at the Gazprom Arena. Without the likes of several staters due to COVID-19, Caicedo managed to start the match on the bench, with Correa and Muriqi starting up top. However, down 1-0, Inzaghi opted to substitute the Kosovan for the Ecuadorian in the 59th minute; a move that would eventually pay off. With just eight minutes of regular time remaining, Caicedo would score a terrific goal. Francesco Acerbi crossed the ball in from the left flank and with a first-time strike, he smashed the ball past Mikhail Kerzhakov.
Against the Bianconeri, once again, Caicedo started from the bench but was brought on in the second half. Down 1-0, this change was to try and provide Lazio with a spark to at least secure a point. In the dying embers of the match, this is exactly what he did. Following a throw-in from Adam Marusic to Joaquin Correa towards the corner flag, the Argentinian international split Rodrigo Bentancur and Juan Cuadrado with a terrific piece of skill and found the Ecuadorian. With one touch to turn away from Leonardo Bonucci, his next touch was a shot with his weak foot (right) that went past Wojciech Szczesny and into the bottom right corner of the net in the 95th minute.
Following these goals, he converted against Hellas Verona (Matchday 11), Fiorentina (Matchday 16), Parma (Matchday 17) and most recently against Crotone (Matchday 27) and Spezia (Matchday 29).
In the January transfer window, Caicedo was again linked with moves away from the Biancocelesti, with Fiorentina and Inter both reportedly seriously interested, but again a move failed to materialize.
With his contract expiring at the end of next season, the next few months will be key for the Ecuadorian if he wants to earn a new contract with Lazio.