The Group Stage of the UEFA Europa League resumed this past week with Lazio back in action against Marseille. It was a hard-fought and entertaining encounter that ended in a 2-2 draw, with both sides being relentless and managing to make a comeback on separate occasions.
Late in the first half, Felipe Anderson erased a 1-0 deficit as he scored right before half-time off a corner kick. Meanwhile, Dimitri Payet scored with under ten minutes remaining to level the scoring after the Ligue 1 side conceded two straight goals to fall behind 2-1. Ciro Immobile and Arkadiusz Milik were the other two goalscorers.
A lead was squandered for a second straight match by the Biancocelesti as they failed to hold on to a one-goal lead. However, a point earned at the Stade Velodrome with a hostile crowd was encouraging and leaves them in a good position to win Group E.
Leading up to this match, Immobile was listed as doubtful as he had the flu and has been nursing a knee injury. Two days prior to their match, he was limited in practice and participated in light drills. However, an hour before the match, Lazio announced that Immobile was in the starting lineup and surprised many.
Immobile’s presence was felt throughout the match as he provided intensity, created chances, posed a threat to Marseille’s backline and assisted in the backend. Lazio had their captain in the lineup and he stepped up in this difficult match. If Immobile had missed this match, it could have been a different outcome as the Biancocelesti have struggled time and time again without their talisman.
The main takeaway following this match was all about Immobile and for a great reason. The Italian reached an incredible milestone by scoring his 160th goal with the Biancocelesti. In doing so, he became Lazio’s all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Silvio Piola who tallied 159 goals.
Back in July 2016, Lazio signed Immobile on a cost-effective deal that has since worked out extremely well. Prior to arriving in Rome, the Italian was in need of a change to help him get back on track after disappointing spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. Since his arrival, he has not only become a fan favourite but also one of the best Lazio players of all time.
In the past six seasons with Lazio, he has played 233 games, amassed 160 goals and contributed 44 assists. During that period, he has broken countless records and helped his side win trophies; specifically a Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana trophies. Furthermore, in his fourth season (2019/20), he had a historical and record-breaking year where he won the European Golden Shoe and was recognized as both Serie A’s ‘Best Forward’ and Lazio’s ‘Player of the Season’.
At the age of 31, Immobile has shown little signs of slowing down and continues to be an integral player for Lazio. He continues to show up with the same desire and attitude that he showed in his first game with the club; without him, they may not be where they are today.