It was a thrilling and entertaining match Saturday afternoon between Atalanta and Lazio as the two sides tied 2-2 at the Gewiss Stadium.
Pedro and Ciro Immobile scored for the Biancocelesti, while Duvan Zapata scored for La Dea, and Marten de Roon added a last-minute goal to salvage a point.
It was a heartbreaking result for Lazio as they nearly won their second straight match, a feat that has been accomplished just once this Serie A campaign. As for Atalanta, they continue to find ways to come back late into the match.
So, what did we learn from Lazio’s devastating draw versus Atalanta?
Ciro Immobile Scores His 159th Goal With Lazio
Time after time, Immobile has delivered in key moments for Lazio. He has scored game-winners, netted pivotal goals, and is always able to provide a spark late into matches.
This season, he replaced Senad Lulic as the club’s new captain following the wing-back’s departure, and he has thrived, leading Serie A in scoring with nine goals and two assists.
Immobile’s leadership role on this team has been outstanding as he has shown great intensity, has made key passes or contributed in the backend with timely interceptions. The Italian has strived well in the past six seasons with Lazio and has established himself as one of the best to play with this club.
On Saturday, Immobile reached a milestone as he scored his 159th goal with the Roman side. In doing so, he tied Silvio Piola as Lazio’s all-time goal scorer and is now one goal away from holding this record on his own.
In both of Lazio’s goals versus Atalanta, Immobile was involved in the build-up play. He was arguably the man of the match as he stepped up when they needed him the most.
Danilo Cataldi Proving He Should Be the Starting Regista
At the start of the season, Lucas Leiva started as the starting regista for Lazio, a role that the central defensive midfielder is unfamiliar with. In recent seasons, the Brazilian has played alongside Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto as a defensive midfielder, where he has strived and has done quite well. However, this season, Leiva has shown that regista is not a position that suits his style of play.
At 34 years old, Leiva has lost a step in his game as he lacks pace and awareness. However, his defensive game is still strong and has not declined. As he is struggling to impress while adapting to a new role, Maurizio Sarri has elected to start Danilo Cataldi in place of the Brazilian. This is a decision that has panned out well for the Biancocelesti.
For a second straight match, Cataldi started beside Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic and had an impressive performance. He made timely challenges, covered ample space in the midfield, delivered quick one-touch passes and showed great awareness. Throughout the match, he also showed good positioning, played with confidence and was effective at both ends of the pitch.
Cataldi has always been regarded as a player who has potential yet often struggled to show it on a consistent basis. However, this season, Cataldi has improved under Sarri and is starting to show that he should be a consistent starter in the regista role.
In Lazio’s opening goal, he delivered a beautiful pass to Immobile which set up Pedro to score. His ability to offer more in the final third has been the difference and has allowed Lazio to be more threatening in their attack. He finished the match with 61 touches, two key passes, four tackles and one clearance.
Francesco Acerbi and Luiz Felipe Stellar in the Backend
Defending the likes of Zapata, Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel is not an easy task for any club. Atalanta have several players who have the ability to score and be difference-makers, which makes them difficult to control. However, Francesco Acerbi and Luiz Felipe performed well in the backend and managed to limit their chances.
Throughout the course of the match, Acerbi and Luiz Felipe made timely challenges to prevent Atalanta from scoring. Ilicic struggled as he was limited to very few chances where his touch let him down or when he failed to execute a proper pass. Zapata scored yet he was one-on-one versus Adam Marusic, who was left alone to defend him and this proved to be difficult for the full-back.
Having Acerbi and Luiz Felipe back in the lineup has been valuable for Lazio as they had to depend on Patric and Stefan Radu when both players were suspended. That scenario did not pan out well versus Hellas Verona; Acerbi and Luiz Felipe are showing how vital they are and why it is important that they are available in the lineup.
Luiz Felipe and Acerbi finished the match with a combined five tackles, two interceptions, 13 clearances and three blocked shots. They provided stability and a physical presence in the backfield which was definitely needed versus Atalanta and helped them earn a point.