Lazzari and Immobile Give Lazio Perfect Start in Cagliari

Cagliari gave a good account of themselves against Sassuolo at the Stadio Mapei – Città del Tricolore. They were compact at the back and did not allow the hosts to make anything out of their possession superiority. A similar effort was needed as they welcomed Lazio to Sardinia.

The last time Lazio traveled to Sardinia, it marked the Cagliari run of poor form. The Isolani’s fate changed from European hopefuls to hanging on to their lives in Serie A as they managed only 3 wins from the following 25 Serie A outings.

If Eusebio Di Francesco had other plans in his mind, it did not plan out as he had hoped. Lady Luck kept the Rossoblu at bay as they crumpled to a 0-2 defeat at the Sardegna Arena. Manuel Lazzari scored the opener for the Biancocelesti with Ciro Immobile scoring in the second half to take the three points home.

It was Cagliari who had the first meaningful opportunity of the game. Charalambos Lykogiannis sent a cross from the left-flank but Joao Pedro could not make the connection. The waiting Thomas Strakosha scooped it up and allayed the danger.

Simone Inzaghi’s boys quickly transitioned from defense to attack and put the hosts under pressure. While Lazio did not profit from the opportunity, they probed in the opposition area. Joaquin Correa sliced the defense open for Adam Marusic to send in a cross. Manuel Lazzari was unmarked at the back and easily tapped in to make it 0-1.

Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog tried to create opportunities for the hosts but their ideas were disrupted by Lucas Leiva and co. For the Romans, Luis Alberto was expressive from the flanks in the opening quarter-hour, but his crosses could not connect with any of his teammates.

Lazio continued to pile on the pressure as Adam Marusic, Lucas Leiva, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had efforts on goal blocked by the Cagliari defense. The hosts were composed and roused from their reactive approach after the fourth-minute strike. Ciro Immobile continued to pose problems for Di Francesco’s men. The Italy international disrupted the shape with his movement and even got behind the defense. Showing his disruptive nature, he even tried an audacious bicycle kick that was wide of the target.

Cagliari’s best chance came in the 25th minute. Razvan Marin’s shot was expertly saved by Thomas Strakosha, who could only parry it to Marko Rog at the edge of the box. The Cagliari midfielder’s resulting effort was straight at the custodian who easily scooped it up.

Manuel Lazzari scored Lazio’s first goal of the season after just four minutes of play

After the half-hour mark, Inzaghi was out of his seat next as the Biancocelesti tried in vain to put the match out of contention. Alessio Cragno was tested by Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile, while Joaquin Correa’s header flew past the left post.

Lazio continued to try but the teams went into stoppage with a solitary goal separating them. It was Cagliari, rather than Lazio, who again concocted the first change after the restart. Joao Pedro tested Thomas Strakosha with a long-range effort but the custodian was up to the task. Giovanni Simeone reacted first to the parried ball but his shot on goal was not up to the mark. The ball flew over the crossbar with the Argentine holding his head in his hands.

Both sides wrestled each other in the ensuing minutes with the hosts claiming the bulk of possession. Rog and Simeone tried their luck but were kept at bay. They were caught backpedaling soon as the visitors came close. Alessio Cragno was at hand with another brilliant save to deny Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the 65th minute.

Lazio would finally bring down the Sardinian defense minutes later. Adam Marusic brought the ball forward and passed it on to Ciro Immobile at the edge of the box. The prolific front-man sent an explosive shot that finally pierced Cragno’s defense. He starts the 2020-21 Serie A campaign the same way he finished last – by scoring goals.

Both sides tried to test each other but in vain. For the hosts, Simeone could not get past Acerbi and co., while Riccardo Sottil could only try his luck from afar. For the Romans, Luis Alberto gave a good account of himself with a run at goal but the Spanish attacker could only manage a tame effort.

In the end, it was a deserved away victory for Lazio when referee Davide Massa blew for full time. Simone Inzaghi must be pleased with his side. They efficiently created chances and were assured at the back. Ciro Immobile continued his goal-scoring spree while Adam Marusic was expressive on the flanks.

Eusebio Di Francesco will return to the drawing board. Cagliari continue to suffer from creativity and need to address their issues. They have an able forward in Giovanni Simeone but the Argentine needs assistance, which was lacking again.

They need a leader and the absence of Radja Nainggolan is being felt. The Isolani will hope Diego Godin, another import from Inter Milan should help them in this area.



September 26, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 2

SCORERS: 4′ Lazzari, 75′ Immobile

CAGLIARI (4-3-3): Cragno; Faragò (34′ Zappa), Walukiewicz, Klavan, Lykogiannis (88′ Tripaldelli); Nandez, Marin (69′ Caligara), Rog; Sottil (80′ Pavoletti), Simeone (79′ Despodov), Joao Pedro (Aresti, Godin, Oliva, Pinna, Pisacane, Vicario) Coach: Di Francesco
LAZIO (3-5-2): Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu (89′ Parolo); Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic (70′ Akpa-Akpro), Lucas Leiva (63′ Escalante), Luis Alberto (89′ Cataldi), Marusic; Correa (70′ Caicedo), Immobile (Reina, Adekanye, Alia, Anderson, Armini, Kiyine) Coach: S. Inzaghi

REFEREE: Mr. Massa from Imperia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Marin (C), Lucas Leiva (L); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 4′