Immobile on Scoresheet Again as Lazio Secure Points Against Spezia

In the opening match of Round 10 of Serie A, Spezia welcomed Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, who were looking to bounce back after last week’s disappointing 3-1 defeat to Udinese. Contrarily, the hosts came into this game following a three-game unbeaten run and were looking to climb to the top half of the table.

Despite having only three shots in the entire game, Lazio collected three massive points on the road, as two first-half goals from Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic were enough to pull off a narrow 2-1 win over Spezia.

Spezia’s head coach Vincenzo Italiano went for a rather attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Diego Farias, Emmanuel Gyasi and M’Bala Nzola as the leading front three. On the other side, Inzaghi opted for his preferred 3-5-2 (3-5-1-1) tactical set-up, with Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marušic as wing-backs, and Andreas Pereira supporting Lazio’s top scorer of the season Ciro Immobile in a slightly deeper role.

Rather surprisingly, Spezia were the ones who started the game on a front foot, enjoying a decent spell of possession in the opening five minutes. It soon paid dividends as Lazio’s goalkeeper Pepe Reina had to pull off an outstanding save to parry the shot from Nahuel Estevez onto the crossbar.

In contrast, Lazio were struggling to keep hold of the ball in the opening minutes of the game, as Spezia’s high press forced the visitors into mistakes when trying to play the ball out from the back. As a result, Inzaghi’s men were completely toothless in the first 10 minutes, producing no real threat in Spezia’s half.

Spezia continued applying pressure on the opponent’s backline, which once again forced Lazio into mistakes, as Emmanuel Gyasi managed to evade several challenges inside Lazio’s box to unleash a shot in on goal which was blocked in the end by Reina and Luiz Felipe.

It took 14 minutes until Lazio had their first shot of the game after Simone Bastoni conceded a free-kick, which resulted in Immobile’s poor header that blasted over the crossbar.

However, a minute later, Lazio’s second shot of the match turned into a goal, as Milinkovic-Savic robbed Giulio Maggiore near the halfway line and immediately sent Immobile on the counter, who found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper and calmly placed the ball through his legs to make it 1-0. It was Immobile’s 6th goal in the Serie A this season.

After conceding, Spezia put themselves back in the driving seat immediately, regaining control of the game, with Bastoni missing a great chance when his shot bounced off the right post. On the other end, Lazio were still unable to break through Spezia’s high press, gifting the ball away in dangerous areas in their own half.

Nevertheless, on rare occasions, Lazio did manage to play through Spezia’s high block with the help of long balls deep into the opponent’s half. Immobile was the target man once again, as he was brought down by Julian Chabot just outside the penalty box. Up stepped Milinkovic-Savic who whipped in a superb free-kick into the near top corner, leaving Ivan Provedel ball watching.

Despite going 2-0 down after 30 minutes, Spezia kept on pushing and nearly managed to pull one back just before the half-time, as Chabot’s header from close range was parried away by Reina.

The second 45 minutes saw the game shaping up in a familiar fashion to the first half, as Spezia continued dominating ball possession but were lacking ideas in the final third, with Lazio looking to catch the home side on the counter.

However, after almost 20 minutes of endless possession in and around Lazio’s final third, Spezia eventually got their rewards in the 64th minute. French center-forward Nzola received a long ball over the top of Lazio’s two center-backs, waved past them and unleashed a magnificent curling effort with his left foot just inside the far left post.

It looked like Spezia’s comeback would not last long, as Felipe Caicedo found himself on the end of the through ball and delightfully went round Provedel before putting the ball into the back of the net. However, the Ecuadorian striker was flagged for offside, and the score remained 2-1.

In the final 20 minutes of the game, Spezia tried their best to find an equalizing goal, but as the fatigue started to kick in, Italiano’s men were unable to go for the final push. Andreas Pereira eventually made it 3-1, but for the second time in this game, Lazio’s goal was chalked off by VAR for offside.

Overall, Spezia looked the better of the two teams and deserved to win, according to xG (expected goals) metric. The home team finished the game with an xG of 1.59, whereas Lazio scored their both goals from only three shots (xG 0.43). Regardless of the performance, Inzaghi must be delighted with the three points after a tough midweek in the Champions League.  



December 5, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 10

SCORERS: 16′ Immobile (L), 32′ Milinkovic Savic (L), 64′ Nzola (S)

SPEZIA (4-3-3): Provedel; Ferrer, Terzi, Chabot, Bastoni (46′ Marchizza); Estevez (91′ Mastinu), Ricci, Maggiore (21′ st Deiola); Gyasi, Nzola (46′ st Piccoli), Farias (22′ st Agudelo). A disposizione: Krapikas, Rafael, Erlic, Sala, Bartolomei, Ismajli, Vignali Coach: Italiano
LAZIO (3-5-2): Reina; Luiz Felipe (89′ Hoedt), Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic (75′ Parolo), Leiva (76′ Escalante), Luis Alberto (59′ Akpa Akpro), Marusic; Pereira, Immobile (60′ Caicedo) (Strakosha, Patric, Anderson, Cataldi, Fares, Moro, Correa) Coach: S. Inzaghi
REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padova
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Bastoni, Terzi, Ricci (S), Akpa Akpro (L); Extra Time: First Half 0′, Second Half 4′