It was a close match between Lazio and Udinese in the Round of 16 of the Coppa Italia at the Stadio Olimpico. This match required extra time; talisman, Ciro Immobile delivered in the 106th minute off a superb long ball pass from Danilo Cataldi. The Biancocelesti advanced to the Quarter-Finals as a result where they will play Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan.
Both sides had quality chances to win this match in the first 90 minutes, with Lazio being the most opportunistic at the 86th minute. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had a shot on target from short-range yet was denied by Udinese goalkeeper, Marco Silvestri; Raul Moro followed up on the rebound towards an empty net, yet defender Destiny Udogie blocked his shot to deny Lazio from scoring. Udinese had their best chance in the first half of extra time when Tolgay Arslan’s shot deflected and hit the right post; however, Immobile was once again the difference-maker.
The Italian striker is in his sixth season with the club and has shown little signs of slowing down on the goalscoring front. He has been in great form in recent times as he has scored in four straight matches for Lazio. In addition, he has scored in six of the past seven matches in all competitions; during that span, he has netted 8 times.
As was the case with ex-manager Simone Inzaghi, Immobile continues to be the focal point in Lazio’s attack. While many doubted Immobile’s ability to perform when Maurizio Sarri was appointed as manager (following Inzaghi’s departure), it has not affected him during this campaign; he has adapted well to the new tactics and 4-3-3 formation. Sarri has managed to get the best out of Immobile, who has been one of the few players to strive under the Biancocelesti’s new manager. Immobile’s game-winner versus Udinese was his seventh this season and once again has proven to be their most valuable player.
Inheriting the captain’s armband at the start of the season, Immobile has been resilient on and off the pitch as he’s been a vocal leader and has managed to lead by example. When the Italian has been out of the lineup, there have been mixed results where they won two matches yet lost two as well. However, when healthy and in the lineup, the morale and confidence of Lazio have been extremely higher.
In this current campaign, Immobile has featured in 25 matches, scored 21 goals and has two assists across all competitions. He currently leads the team in goals in Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa League. Immobile has been remarkable, resilient and extraordinary with the Roman side.
In the 71st minute, Immobile was brought into the match and in the 106th minute, he delivered. At 31 years old, he continues to do what he does best for Lazio by winning matches when his team needs him most.