Club Focus – Lazio – Aquile soar to Serie A summit

Nowadays, its customary before kick off at the Stadio Olimpico, for an eagle to be released and fly around the stadium, it is an effort to bring luck to Lazio. Before Sundays match, there certainly was a buzz in the Olimpico, with hosts looking at the possibility of flying to the summit of Serie A. A 1-0 victory over a resilient Brescia gave the Biancocelesti tifosi exactly what they desired. It remains to be seen as to whether Lazio can keep up their fine form and maintain there position at the high end of the table, but for the moment, its certainly enjoyable times for the Romans.

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It was a low scoring affair, yet an entertaining one. Both teams carved out some fantastic openings, it was a game that deserved more than just the one goal. Marco Zambelli had a good game for visitors and forced an excellent save from Fernando Muslera in the Lazio goal. He flashed a effort right across Muslera’s goal and was unlucky that nobody gambled on it. The hosts did have the better of the first half, a Cristian Brocchi strike forcing a fine save from the Matteo Sereni in the Brescia goal. The former Biancocelesti stopper made another good save keeping out a Stefan Lichsteiner pile driver and was equal to a stunning Mauro Zarate free kick.
The hosts finally made the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time, Hernanes teeing up Stefano Mauri who fired in from a tight angle. It was terrific work from the Brazilian, Dummying his way past Nicolas Cordova and playing a fine through ball for Mauri who finished spectacularly. Hernanes has been sensational since arriving in the capital in the summer and kept up his good form in this encounter. It is no surprise that the former Sao Paolo mans good form is entwined with Lazio’s excellent start the season.
The game tightened up in the second period, Lazio seemingly happy with the one goal advantage. Brescia went down to 10 men when former West Ham United man, Alessandro Diamanti was dismissed for two bookable offences. It was foolish play from Diamanti, his sending off effectively ending the Rondinelle’s chances off taking anything from this fixture. Brescia going a man down obviously was a key factor in the slowing down of this game. Credit must go to the visitors, for continuing to push on despite the numerical disadvantage. In the end they simply did not have enough to break through the sturdy Biancocelesti backline.
Eddy Reja solved his striker headache by partnering Sergio Floccari and Zarate in attack. The tactician has plenty of attacking options and again had tough decisions to make going into this fixture. Mauro Zarate was expected to begin the match as a substitute, despite his starring role in the victory at Chievo. Reja obviously had doubts about benching the mercurial Argentine and decided to go with continuity against Brescia. It was a wise move by the coach as you are unlikely to get the best out of players unless they feature on a regular basis. They need to be allowed a run in the starting 11 to build up form and confidence. Could Zarate starting this encounter be a sign that Reja is reconsidering what has been a rotation policy at the Olimpico?
In the end Zarate had one of his quieter games, apart from a terrific free-kick, the Argentine was on the periphery for much of this game. He was replaced on the hour by club captain Tommaso Rocchi, another who could consider himself unlucky not to be in the starting XI. This writer would have preferred Floccari to have been withdrawn, believing that a Zarate-Rocchi partnership could produce the goods for the capital club.
Eddy Reja spoke after the game, sensibly urging caution to all Lazio followers. The tactician claimed it was important to judge his team mid-season when it will be easier to gain a perspective of the Biancocelesti’s chances. He spoke of his confidence in the squad and declared how happy was with the teams options. Reja saw his seem gain a glowing endorsement from his long time friend, Fabio Capello. The England head coach spoke of his great friendship with Reja and proclaimed that this Lazio team were more than capable of gate crashing the top four and claiming a Champions League spot. It is obviously to early for us to gain a true and proper scope of Lazio’s chances for the season. It is however the perfect time to praise the team for there sensational start to the season. The Biancocelesti will head into the international break at the enjoyable end of the Serie A table, and for that, great praise must go to Eddy Reja and his men.
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