Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio Cruise to 3-1 Win Over Empoli in Serie A Opener

Lazio kicked off their Serie A 2021/22 season in style, beating Empoli 3-1 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

An exciting first half took place in Tuscany last night, with the Biancocelesti overcoming an early deficit well, netting three times before the break. Their defensive efforts proved enough to secure the three points, with the match ending 3-1.

Coach Maurizio Sarri picked the following Starting XI for the match:

Lazio (4-3-3): 

  • Pepe Reina; 
  • Manuel Lazzari, Luiz Felipe, Francesco Acerbi, Elseid Hysaj; 
  • Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (69′ Andre Anderson), Lucas Leiva (81′ Gonzalo Escalante), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (45′ Luis Alberto);
  • Felipe Anderson, Ciro Immobile (81′ Vedat Muriqi), Pedro (60′ Raul Moro)

Following kick-off, Lazio immediately looked to employ Sarri’s requested tactics, with fast movements, quick short passes and a high line. The Biancocelesti looked incredibly dangerous in the early moments until a mistake was made.

Empoli pounced on the counter-attack, with Nedim Bajrami carrying the ball deep into the Roman club’s half. A powerful, well-placed shot from Filippo Bandinelli put Empoli ahead after only four minutes, giving them a 1-0 lead. 

Lazio did not take long to respond, with a cross from Felipe Anderson being met by star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, whose header found the back of the net, tying the game up at 1-1.

The Roman club continued to employ Sarri’s movements as the first half developed, with positive signs despite some shaky passing at times. 

This control manifested into an advantage in the 32nd minute, thanks to Manuel Lazzari. The Italian full-back pushed up quickly with the ball, played a smooth one-two with Milinkovic-Savic before scoring at the far post, giving Lazio a 2-1 lead.

In the 40th minute Empoli shot stopper Guglielmo Vicario fouled defender Francesco Acerbi in the penalty area. Referee Simone Sozza pointed to the spot and a penalty was given.

Ciro Immobile stepped and sent Vicario the wrong way, scoring his first of the season as Lazio enjoyed a 3-1 lead.

At half-time, Sarri took off Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro and replaced him with Luis Alberto. The Spaniard didn’t start the match due to some concerns regarding his physical condition.

Lazio’s control continued in the second half, but they couldn’t manage to grow their lead, often being stuck passing around the final third.

In the 60th minute, Sarri made his second change of the match, switching new singing Pedro with young talent Raul Moro, who immediately had an impact, dribbling past his man and before slightly miscuing the pass to Immobile.

10 minutes later the 62-year-old Italian coach made another substitution, switching Milinkovic-Savic for Andre Anderson, who performed well in a defensive role.

The final set of changes came in the 81st minute, with Sarri replacing Immobile and Lucas Leiva with Vedat Muriqi and Gonzalo Escalante.

Little else occurred, and Lazio’s 3-1 win over Empoli was secured after four minutes of added time, with Sarri securing a tasty three points in his first competitive game in charge of the Roman club.

Tags Acerbi Akpa Akpro Andre Anderson Biancocelesti Empoli Empoli vs Lazio Escalante Felipe Anderson Hysaj immobile Italy Lazio Lazio vs Empoli Lazzari Leiva Luis Alberto Luiz Felipe Maurizio Sarri Milinkovic-Savic Moro Muriqi Pedro Raul Moro Reina Rome Sarri