Lazio looked tired and out of shape as they suffered a 2-0 loss to Almeria in their final match of 2022.
Biancocelesti coach Maurizio Sarri lined up a relatively strong squad for the friendly against the Spanish outfit, deploying first team regulars like Ivan Provedel, Alessio Romagnoli, Danilo Cataldi and Ciro Immobile, and it was clear that the players lacked match fitness after the six-week World Cup break.
Both sides had a few searching chances in the first half before Almeria took the lead in the 35th minute following a cross from Alejandro Pozo, which was met by El Bilal Touré, who outmuscled Patric to give the Spanish club the lead.
Lazio tried to fight back in the first half but their play going forward was relatively toothless and Almeria held strong, leaving Sarri a little frustrated on the sidelines.
The Roman club were immediately on the back foot in the second half after Largie Ramazani’s shot beat Provedel to double Almeria’s lead.
A long 45 minutes followed and Sarri made various changes, bringing on players like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luka Romero, but Lazio couldn’t claw one back and were left disappointed following the full time whistle.
Whilst the defeat hasn’t closed out Lazio’s 2022 in the best way, it was still an important test and shows the team need to work a little harder to be ready for their first game of 2023 against Lecce on 4th January.
Goals: Toure (36’), Ramazani (46’)
Almeria (4-3-3): Fernando; Pozo (80′ Mendes), Chumi (80′ Kaiky), Babic, Akieme (80′ Alex Centelles); Robertone (70′ Samu), Cesar (70′ Arnau), Melero; Ramazani (64′ Portillo), El Bilal (70′ Sousa), Lazaro (64′ Baptistao).
Lazio (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari (75′ Radu), Patric (80′ Gila), Romagnoli, Marusic; Vecino (45′ Milinkovic-Savic), Cataldi (64′ Marcos Antonio), Luis Alberto (64′ Basic); Felipe Anderson (70′ Luka Romero), Immobile (75′ Cancellieri), Pedro.
Booked: Lazzari, Cesar.