Club Focus – Lazio – A well earned point for battling Biancocelesti

Going into this fixture at the Ennio Tardini, many saw it as a challenge for Lazio. It was a challenge, a test of there Champions League aspirations. Parma, whilst slowly improving, have been one of the poorest teams in Serie A thus far and many believed it was a fixture in which Aquile should be winning if they were to achieve their objectives.
La Crociate have been inconsistent on occasions this season, occasionally looking woefully bad, whilst also putting in performances that makes you question there lowly league position. Ducali Coach Pasquale Marino, despite his team’s apparent change in fortunes, is still under pressure to improve results further.

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It was perfectly clear for all to see, that the former Udinese tactician had his team fired up for this fixture. Admittedly, we witnessed a slow start to this match, but the Parma passing was sharp and incisive. You got the impression that, should they go through the gears, then a goal was a distinct possibility for them.
The home side broke the deadlock at the midway point of the first half after their early promise was fulfilled. An incisive move down the right lead to a cross that was glanced in by who else, but former Lazio favourite Hernan Crespo. The Argentinean may be in the twilight of what has been a glittering career but showed that he had not lost any of his goal scoring instincts. The cross was fantastic, the header was delightful, Crespo’s timing was superb. He left Fernando Muslera in the Biancocelesti goal standing, no chance of the Uruguayan keeping that effort out.
It was looking as if Lazio’s win against Napoli the previous week was a reprieve, rather than the rejuvenation we expected, after a couple of poor performances from Edy Reja’s troops. Aquile were sloppy during the opening period, passes were not finding their target, the tempo was poor, a third loss in four outings was certainly on the cards.
Right on the stroke of half time, Lazio got the luck that has perhaps eluded them in recent weeks. A corner was drifted into the Parma penalty area and Sergio Floccari’s header deflected wickedly of Luca Antonelli and over the head of the stranded Antonio Mirante in Gialloblu goal.
Perhaps Edy Reja spoke harshly to his team during the interval, but Lazio came out and immediately looked sharper in the second half. They certainly did not blow Parma away, but the passing was improved and they began to create some openings for themselves.
The current Biancocelesti Argentine, Mauro Zarate began to involve himself more and saw an effort saved by Mirante. Good work from Hernanes resulted in him having the space to fire in a shot that whispered past Mirante’s post. Parma did have the occasional opportunity of their own, but seemed to accept that a draw was a creditable result considering their season so far. Perhaps Marino did saw a defensive draw better than an attacking defeat and who can blame him
Edy Reja sent Tommaso Rocchi on late in the hope that he could conjure a winner for the visitors. Strangely it was Zarate who was replaced. You do sometimes get the impression that Reja does not trust the mercurial Argentine to deliver when it really matters. A moment of genius is however, something that Zarate does have in his locker, so why remove him when you are searching for a winning goal?
Perhaps Reja himself was beginning to accept that a draw was the more likely outcome of this fixture.
Aquile will be disappointed that they did not claim 3 points from this fixture, a win at places like the Ennio Tardini is considered essential for any would be championship challenges. That is certainly not meant as disrespect to Parma, it just takes into account that they have on occasion, struggled this season so far. In reality, a point was a creditable result for Lazio. Considering, that there last away fixture ended in defeat at Cesena, Reja will be happy that his team got something, rather than nothing from this match.
Next up for Lazio it is Catania, another one of the unpredictable’s, at the Stadio Olimpico. Edy Reja does have plenty to think about before this fixture, as always. Milan appear to be getting into their groove and any more slip ups form the Biancocelesti, may see them slip too far behind the Rossoneri. The draw at Parma was creditable, a win against Catania you feel, is essential.
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