Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha led Lazio to a stunning 1-2 away victory against Juventus, as he saved a contested penalty by Paulo Dybala 96 minutes into the inaugural game of Serie A 8th Round. The Albanian was a mixed blessing today, alternating saves and mistakes which climaxed in the decisive deflection of Serie A former top scorer’s penalty kick.
Coach Simone Inzaghi treated himself and his supporters with beating Juventus for the second time this season, after a shocking 3-2 win this summer that earned Lazio the Italian Supercup. But while the upset in August was propitiated by the goals of Alessandro Murgia, today’s win was built upon the Biancocelesti goalie’s performance, and two goals by Ciro Immobile that put the Azzurri striker ahead of Dybala in the top scorers standing – with 11 goals versus La Joya’s 10.
Juventus saw victory slipping out of their hands as Immobile’s sudden brace cancelled the lead gained with Douglas Costa’s first goal wearing a black and white jersey, and had to concede a match at Allianz Stadium after a 41-game streak with no losses on their home ground. This is another red flag for the side trained by Massimiliano Allegri, which has captured only one point in the last two games, and now sees Napoli flying away with a +5 advantage in the league table.
In an exciting match where a little bit of everything happened, video assistance refereeing technology could not miss to play its part by having a decisive role in at least two occasions: as Douglas Costa tapped in a left foot shot by Sami Khedira after Thomas Strakosha’s deflection, technology was called into action to evaluate Juventus’ winger supposed offside position: Video assistance confirmed that Douglas Costa was kept into play by Lazio defender Bastos, for Juventus’ 1-0.
Then, after Ciro Immobile had scored his two goals to reverse the situation, and both sides had missed multiple chances to give the match a different direction, Eagles’ Spanish defender Patric clumsily failed to control the ball in his box, and knocked down Federico Bernardeschi in an attempt to control him. We were already 94 minutes into the game, and it took an additional two for referee Paolo Mazzoleni to consult VAR and finally awarding a penalty to Madama (literally “My Lady,” another one of Juventus’ multiple nicknames). Strakosha saved Dybala’s shot and became hero for a day.
Juventus number 10’s second missed penalty in a row is only one area of concern for Massimiliano Allegri, who also has to face Gonzalo Higuain’s abulia and continuous slip-ups from his defense – even by most experienced players such as Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. The Argentinian 90-million-euro striker failed at least three clear chances to score, first hitting the crossbar with a zero-distance shot, then giving Strakosha another chance to shine, and finally missing an easy conversion from a cross by Kwadmo Asamoah.
But Simone Inzaghi’s squad also got their occasions to increase the lead, especially when a counter attack by Felipe Caicedo was stopped by a providential save by Gianluigi Buffon. The Biancocelesti, whose only faux pas in the league happened against Napoli, confirmed all the good things shown so far, with their young coach having found a reliable system in a 3-5-1-1 lineup: A Ciro Immobile in perfect shape is well supported by Luis Alberto, and a well-oiled midfield line composed by Sergej Milinkovic Savic, Lucas Leiva, and the other Azzurro Marco Parolo.
Lazio will travel to Nice this Thursday to test their ambitions further in Europa League Group K most challenging game, whereas Juventus has an easier European task on paper – receiving Portuguese side Sporting Lisboa Wednesday at the Allianz Stadium for their 3rd Champions League match.
SCORERS: 23′ Douglas Costa (J), 47′ Immobile (L), 54′ Immobile (L, pen.)
JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Buffon; Lichtsteiner (73′ Sturaro), Barzagli, Chiellini, Asamoah; Khedira (65′ Dybala), Bentancur, Matuidi; Douglas Costa (54′ Bernardeschi), Higuain, Mandzukic. (Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Cuadrado). Coach: Allegri
LAZIO (3-5-1-1): Strakosha; Bastos, De Vrij, Radu; Marusic, Parolo, Leiva, Milinkovic, Lulic (84′ Patric); Luis Alberto (72′ Nani); Immobile (76′ Caicedo). (Vargic, Guerrieri, Luiz Felipe, Mauricio, Murgia, Di Gennaro, Jordao). Coach: Inzaghi
REFEREE: Mr. Mazzoleni from Bergamo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Buffon, Sturaro (J), Patric (L); Extra Time: 0′ 1st Half ; 5′ 2nd Half