Lazio vs Fiorentina 1-0: Immobile’s Smash and Grab

Serie A’s 10th round was brought to a close with an entertaining match in Rome. The Viola came in on a high after their 6-0 win in Europe on Thursday but wanted to keep pace at the top of the league as well. Lazio on the other had shown both sides of themselves in the past week, giving arguably their best performance of the season against Sassuolo but a terrible display in the Netherlands against Feyenoord meant the morale needed a boost. The visitors ultimately fell victim to Immobile’s smash and grab in injury time.

It was end to end stuff in the opening minutes but the visitors seized the initiative and controlled long stretches of play for the first half. They even had the ball in the back of the net after 13 minutes. Lucas Beltran thought he’d bagged his first Serie A goal but he used his arm to take the  high ball down. VAR spotted this and we remained at a deadlock. Another opportunity came knocking four minutes later when Beltran rose to meet a cross but could only find the post of Ivan Provedel’s goal. Lazio were only coming forward on the counter-attack but the final ball was often lacking in quality.

Felipe Anderson and Luis Alberto were the main sources of these entries into enemy territory. The sharp decision making needed to take advantage was not at the level required. Fiorentina on the other hand had settled and were very comfortable on the ball without creting proper chances. Sometimes though this meant Lazio were able to latch onto loose passes. Nicolo Rovella risked a lot on the stroke of half time, messing around in his own box. Himself and Jonathan Ikone had some afters at half time, both getting booked.

Lazio Player Ratings vs Fiorentina: Immobile is Man of the Moment.

Second Half:

The Florence club had the majority of the ball in the opening minutes of the second period. Unfortunately for the travelling support this just didn’t translate into clear shots that troubled Provedel. Up the other end Taty Castellanos had at least three moments to open the scoring but couldn’t get the job done. Felipe Anderson took the ball in,from a cross, swung and forced a great save from Pietro Terracciano. The roles were reversed later and the ‘keeper kept Alberto’s shot out with his foot.

Vincenzo Italiano was animated on the touchline all evening. The technician made two changes after the hour mark. M’bala Nzola replaced Beltran and Antonin Barak came on for Giacomo Bonaventura. The rain was pelting down at this stage and neither team seemed capable of overcoming the other. A lack of attacking prowess was apparent all evening. Nothing was coming off for Alberto and Sarri moved to change this when he brought on fresh legs in the form of Daichi Kamada. The Japanese midfielder made an impact when he released Anderson after winning the ball. The Brazilian had two bites of the cherry. He couldn’t find the back of the net with either. The second shot rifled over.

Immobile’s Smash and Grab:

Fiorentina were happy to return with a share of the spoils but weren’t shy about robbing all three either. Nzola lurked at the back post for a corner with five minutes left. his effort went straight to Provedel however. The Lazio net-minder had a nervous moment last week with the ball at the edge of his box and the same sort of situation nearly cost his team here again. Patric and himself didn’t deal with a long ball and he was lucky to pick up a foul. Ciro Immobile had started midweek but found himself on the bench this evening until the 76th minute. Ultimately his presence proved priceless for the Biancocelesti.

Matias Vecino got his forehead to a cross in the last of four added minutes. His marker Nikola Milenkovic rose with him and stuck out his arm in what was perhaps not the wisest move. The ball hit the Serb and Matteo Marcenaro immediately pointed to the spot. Up stepped Ciro Immobile. Lazio’s record goal scorer had a tough few weeks but he made no mistake with this spot kick. Drilling it into the left hand corner he rushed to the Curva Nord to celebrate. It proved to be the last kick of the game and the emotion was high after the final whistle. Viola supporters shed tears while the Aquile gathered behind the goal with their star man. A major morale boost for both player and team

A draw would have been a fair result on the night and Fiorentina may feel hard done by. One point is all that separates these sides in sixth and seventh place after ten games. Both will need improvements in the attacking third if they want to have a say in the European race. Up next for the hosts is a tricky trip away to an in-form Bologna side who have only lost one game all season. On the other hand Fiorentina host Juventus at home next weekend. Neither can afford to drop too many points if the table stays as tight as it is right now.