Maimed Lazio Snatch One Point at Club Brugge in UCL Clash

Lazio came home from their Champions League trip to Belgium with one point as the Biancocelesti held Club Brugge to a 1-1 tie despite facing multiple absences. Coronavirus and injuries maimed Simone Inzaghi’s roster as the coach was forced to aggregate several youth club members to his Champions League squad.

Lazio drew first blood with Joaquin Correa but saw their lead cancelled when Hans Vanaken buried the spot for Club Brugge before the end of the first half. The Biancocelesti created some additional scoring chances with Sergej Milinkovic Savic and Andreas Pereira but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net again.

Still, Inzaghi must be happy with his side’s performance as the point they conquered leaves them at the top of Group F alongside the Belgian outlet.

Lazio were missing at least 12 players, including COVID-positive Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto. Inzaghi conjured a similar lineup to the one that beat Bologna last Saturday with the only additions of Milinkovic Savic in midfield and Felipe Caicedo to support Correa on the front line.

The Belgian side had a more aggressive start but found themselves behind right when they were taking control of the game. Lazio broke the deadlock capitalizing on their very first offensive chance as Joaquin Correa exchanged the ball with Adam Marusic before flipping it past Simon Mignolet with a fine left-foot effort.

Philippe Clement’s side reacted fast and, in the 23rd minute, 19-year-old Charles De Ketelaere missed a golden chance as he couldn’t find the goal target from a favorable position. Lazio could have doubled their lead before the break, but Felipe Caicedo and Jean-Louis Akpa Arpo bumped into each other as they attempted a header conversion while Mohamed Fares lost his momentum to finish a swift counterattack.

In the 42nd minute, English referee Anthony Taylor saw something suspicious in Lazio’s box and went for a VAR check. The video footage revealed Patric knocking down Mats Rits, prompting a penalty for Club Brugge that Vanaken converted.

In the second half, it was up to back-up goalkeeper Juan Manuel Reina to keep Lazio afloat as the Belgian side continued to push. The former Napoli and Milan goalie first denied Emmanuel Bonaventure, then saved from a Rits header to maintain the score unchanged.

There were more problems for Inzaghi in the 69th minute as Felipe Caicedo also raised a white flag due to a shoulder injury. The manager, who had already sent in Andres Pereira and Vedat Muriqi earlier in the second half, threw in the mix 19-year-old Szymon Czyz for his Biancocelesti debut.

Lazio’s biggest chance in the second half came from a Milinkovic Savic screamer that the Belgian shot-stopper somehow managed to deflect with his arm. Pereira was also served a golden chance but failed to hit the target with his shot.

The Biancocelesti controlled the game in the final minutes and seemed happy with the 1-1 outcome. In normal times, they should have asked and gone for more, but the point they snatched tonight is a prize to their resilience.



October 28, 2020 – Champions League 2020-21 Group Stage

SCORERS: 14′ Correa (L), 42′ Vanaken (C, pen.)

CLUB BRUGGE (3-5-2): Mignolet; Clinton Mata, Kossounou, Deli; Diatta, Vormer, Rits, Vanaken, Sobol; De Katelaere (83′ Lang), Bonaventure (88′ Krmencik) (Horvath, Balanta, Schrijvers, Ricca, Okereke, Badji, Mechele) Coach: Clement
LAZIO (3-5-2): Reina; Patric (46′ Pereira), Hoedt, Acerbi; Marusic, Akpa Akpro, Parolo, Milinkovic-Savic, Fares (56′ Muriqi); Correa, Caicedo (69′ Czyz) (Furlanetto, Alia, Bertini, Franco, Pica) Coach: S. Inzaghi

REFEREE: Taylor (England)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Diatta, Bonaventure, Rits (B), Fares, Patric, Hoedt, Akpa Akpro, Czyz (L); Extra Time: First Half 3′, Second Half 3′