An emphatic second-half performance from Luis Alberto guided Lazio to a 3-1 win over Genoa on Friday night at the Stadio Olimpico. Felipe Anderson scored late in the first half while the Spanish midfielder assisted on goals from Francesco Acerbi and Mattia Zaccagni in the second half. A late goal from Filippo Melegoni denied Lazio of a clean sheet.
It has been a difficult season for Lazio as they have struggled to adapt under new manager, Maurizio Sarri. After five months, the players are still trying to comprehend his style of play. It was a pivotal win for the Biancocelesti, however, as they are currently in eighth place and try to remain within distance of a spot for European competition next season.
Genoa’s struggles continue under new manager, Andriy Shevchenko, as he is yet to win a match in Serie A since replacing Davide Ballardini. The Rossoblu have a record of zero wins, one draw and five losses since his arrival.
So, what did we learn from Lazio’s 3-1 win versus Genoa?
Luis Alberto Lifts Lazio to Victory
In the past ten days, Luis Alberto has been dealing with a muscle injury that has limited his training. The midfielder started on the bench for Lazio as he was not fit to play the full ninety minutes. He entered the frame in the 63rd minute and with Lazio leading 1-0, he made a significant impact.
On Lazio’s second goal in the 75th minute, Luis Alberto executed an accurate corner-kick into the goal area and Acerbi delivered a beautiful header to extend the lead to 2-0. He earned his second assist in the 81st minute, as Luis Alberto made a key pass from midfield to Zaccagni, who beat Genoa goalkeeper, Salvatore Sirigu, in a 1v1 situation.
Luis Alberto was clinical with his passes, showed a good read for the game and was impactful in Lazio’s attack. The Spaniard provided an uplift off the bench and was a difference-maker for the Biancocelesti. He finished the match with 28 touches, two assists, completed 18/19 passes, 4/4 long ball passes and won three ground duels.
Is Stefan Radu Now the Preferred Choice to Replace Elseid Hysaj?
It has been a frustrating season for Manuel Lazzari, as he has struggled to transition to full back and his performances have been inconsistent. He has been used primarily as a right-back where he has played in 14 Serie A matches and logged 684 minutes.
On the offensive end, Lazzari has always been a reliable player as he can make strong runs, create chances and has good pace to get in behind the defense. However, his defensive game has been poor where he has been unreliable on countless occasions. In recent matches, Lazzari has been subbed on late as a winger and coming on in place of either Pedro or Felipe Anderson.
Sarri took a different approach versus Genoa. Right after the hour mark, he brought on Stefan Radu over Lazzari for the injured Elseid Hysaj. It was a surprising decision made by the Lazio manager yet one that should be recognized.
Radu made his second appearance in the past three Serie A matches and this may be a signal that Sarri may no longer trust Lazzari as a full back. After a disappointing start versus Hellas Verona back in October, Radu has turned it around with Lazio. He had a strong performance versus Udinese and followed up once more against Genoa.
After three appearances, Radu has started to settle in under Sarri where he has made pivotal clearances, has shown good pace, provided a physical presence and made key challenges in 1v1 situations. He was also effective on the offensive end where he had two attempts on goal. Radu had a slow start yet is now showing he has much to offer to this backend.
Lazio Finally Secure Three Points Without Ciro Immobile
When Ciro Immobile has been out of the lineup for Lazio, it has been difficult for them to win matches. The Italian missed his third game this season and caused some concern as to how they would approach their match versus Genoa. In the previous two matches without Immobile, Lazio had not scored a goal and struggled offensively.
It was a slow start yet as the game progressed, Lazio settled in quite well. They scored three times and managed to create several chances. Felipe Anderson started in place of Immobile and put forth a tremendous performance, one that could help boost his confidence. After a strong start to the season, the Brazilian has tailed off and has been inconsistent over the past month.
Although he played in a role that was new to him, he was effective throughout the match as he made timely interceptions, created chances, showed good movement and made several strong runs. Hopefully, this performance is a turning point in Felipe Anderson’s season which will boost his confidence and help with his morale moving forward.
Lazio play Venezia in their next Serie A fixture. The newly-promoted side sit in 16th place in Serie A with a record of 4W-5D-9L, scoring 17 goals while conceding 31 thus far. In their recent match against Sampdoria, they picked up a point away from home in a 1-1 draw.