Lazio booked their ticket to the knockout stages following a 3-0 win versus FC Lokomotiv Moscow at the RZD Arena. As for Lokomotiv, they were officially eliminated from advancing to the next round of the Europa League.
Both sides were unable to score in the first half with very few attempts on goal. However, the Biancocelesti put on a clinical performance in the second half as they scored three successive goals to ensure the victory. Ciro Immobile made his return to the lineup after missing one match due to an injury and made an immediate impact as he scored a brace, with both coming from the spot. Pedro scored late, with the match far out of reach at that point for Lokomotiv.
It was an outstanding performance from Maurizio Sarri’s men who have started to turn the corner in recent weeks and have played exceptionally well in five of their past six matches.
So, what did we learn from Lazio’s 3-0 win versus Lokomotiv Moscow?
Ciro Immobile Returns From Injury in Fine Fashion
After missing Lazio’s previous match due to a calf injury, Immobile returned to the lineup and had an immediate impact. The Italian scored a brace in the second half as he converted twice from the spot. His presence was felt throughout the match as he made several strong runs, had a few scoring attempts, and earned his side a penalty.
In their last match versus Juventus, Lazio struggled to cope without Immobile. They had minimal scoring chances, did not look threatening in their attack, and lacked cohesion. That was not the issue versus Lokomotiv as the Biancocelesti looked more comfortable in their attack.
Pedro, Mattia Zaccagni, and Felipe Anderson were more in sync with Immobile on the pitch. They executed their passes and crosses more confidently as they are accustomed to how Immobile makes his runs and gets into tight spaces.
Immobile continues to prove how important he is to this team and his return is vital moving forward with a hectic schedule on the horizon.
Patric Performed Tremendously at Right-Back
Patric made his first start at right-back this season for Lazio and performed admirably versus Lokomotiv. The Spaniard made very few mistakes in the backend as he made key tackles and won several loose ball challenges. He was aggressive inside the goal area as he did not concede any chances and used his speed effectively to consistently beat his opponents in 1v1 situations.
It was a simple but sound game from Patric. He was extremely efficient in his passing as he consistently managed to work out from the backend with ease. In addition, he managed to create a few scoring opportunities which began from his quick and decisive passing.
With Napoli next in the Serie A fixture for Lazio, Sarri opted to rest Lazzari and manage his minutes. This was a smart decision by the manager as Patric stepped up to the challenge and performed tremendously.
Manuel Lazzari Should Be Considered as a Right-Winger
With under ten minutes remaining in the match, Sarri made his final substitution with Lazzari coming on in place of Zaccagni. This was an unexpected move made by the Italian as Raul Moro, who is a natural winger, was available and could have come on.
Lazzari has been used predominantly at right-back this season but made his first appearance at right-wing. He was effective in this position as he made several brilliant runs to get in behind the defense and created scoring attempts. His speed and movement allowed him to have an advantage on Lokomotiv’s defenders which put Lazio in good positions to score.
Although it was late in the match with Lokomotiv trailing 2-0 and visibly tired, Lazzari offered Sarri an option up front. The Lazio manager has had very few options with Zaccagni missing time this season and Felipe Anderson being overused. In addition, Pedro is not fully fit and playing through a back problem. Lazzari could offer some speed up front late in matches and is a serviceable option if needed.
In eight minutes played, Lazzari finished the match with four successful dribbles, one key pass, and one foul won. Lazzari has become a versatile player and one who will be vital for Sarri as the season progresses.