Udinese Put Three Past Lazio to Catch Second Win in a Row

There was some shock and surprise at the Stadio Olimpico today as Udinese stunned Lazio in what was arguably their best performance of the season. A team that had majorly struggled to find the back of the net so far put three past Simone Inzaghi’s Biancocelesti despite facing a coronavirus outbreak that deprived them of six players plus their coach Luca Gotti.

Goals from Roberto Pereyra, Ignacio Pussetto, and Fernando Forestieri put Lazio back on their heels before Ciro Immobile would reduce the gap for the Biancocelesti from the penalty spot. It was an overly disappointing performance for the home side, who found themselves continuously exposed to Udinese’s fast breaks and whose few scoring chances were masterfully controlled by the three men back in the Bianconeri‘s defense.

Lazio welcomed back Thomas Strakosha between the sticks, the Albanian keeper coming back after a long absence due to Covid. Sergej Milinkovic Savic also recovered from coronavirus, but started from the bench. It was mostly the same formation Simone Inzaghi had lined up in his recent outfits and few could have imagined it was going to crash so soundly.

For Udinese, coach Luca Gotti tested positive for Covid and was replaced by his backup Gabriele Cioffi in the dugout. The Bianconeri staff seem to have found the right formation and were aiming at deploying the same staring XI that beat Genoa one week ago, but Stefano Okaka’s last-minute injury forced him to deploy Fernando Forestieri to support Ignacio Pusetto in attack. Luckily for them, the coronavirus outbreak among their lines didn’t affect any of their recent starters.

Lazio had their fist chance very early in the game – with Juan Musso denying Joaquin Correa – but, after that, they adopted a surprisingly remissive approach and left the initiative to the Bianconeri.

Tolgay Arslan went from the risk of leaving the pitch for an injury to scoring a beautiful opener with a sharp shot from out of the box that hit the bottom right corner of the goal. The Turk was the one to make it to the scoresheet but there was some great work in the build-up on the part of Roberto Pereyra, who nutmegged Patric in the box and passed the ball back to Arslan for his conversion.

Samir’s acrobatic effort from a corner kick went close to bring the visitors at 0-2 but his shot was deflected above the bar by the returning Strakosha. On 28 minutes, Lazio’s defense shivered again as Fernando Forestieri was left all alone to attempt an aerial conversion from a Rodrigo De Paul set piece and the Biancocelesti had to thank Lady Luck for the Brazilian narrowly missing the target.

Luck didn’t last long however as, right before the half time break, a textbook breakaway gave Udinese their second goal, with Rodrigo De Paul being the provider and Ignacio Pussetto wrapping an elegant finish from his beautiful pass.

Something had to change for Lazio. Simone Inzaghi started from the people, as there were three substitutions for the home side after the restart. Lucas Leiva, Adam Marusic and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro replaced Danilo Cataldi, Mohamed Fares and Marco Parolo.

But the next chance for the Biancocelesti came only after the one-hour mark and it was a tricky Ciro Immobile shot that was well saved by Udinese’s Juan Musso. Before that, however, Udinese had come close to make it three in at least two more occasions, with Lazio defense always finding themselves with one man less and struggling to stop the bleeding.

In such situation, it was only a matter of time before the Friulani would hit the back of the net again. It happened on 70 minutes, when Fernando Forestieri took advantage of an ineffective Francesco Acerbi clearance from a De Paul cross and beat Strakosha for the third  time.

Lazio’s gap would be reduced moments later as Ciro Immobile gained and converted a penalty from one of the very few scoring chances his side produced, but that was all the Aquile could do. It was an unexpected setback that does not necessarily complicate Lazio’s situation but surely could take a toll from a mindset point of view.

For Udinese, on the other hand, this is the second win in a row and perhaps a sign that, after a staggering start, things have started to trend well in the Friuli Region…



November 29, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 9

SCORERS: 18′ Arslan (U), 45’+3 Pussetto (U), 71′ Forestieri (F), 74′ Immobile (L, pen.) 

LAZIO (3-5-2): Strakosha; Patric (76′ Pereira), Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Parolo (46′ Akpa Akpro), Cataldi (46′ Lucas Leiva), Luis Alberto (62′ Caicedo), Fares (46′ Marusic); Correa, Immobile (Reina, Furlanetto, Hoedt, Armini, Anderson, Milinkovic Savic, Escalante) Coach: S. Inzaghi
UDINESE (3-5-2): Musso; Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Stryger Larsen, De Paul, Arslan (57′ Jajalo), Pereyra, Zeegelaar (57′ Molina); Forestieri (79′ Walace), Pussetto (Scuffet, Bonifazi, Ter Avest, Gasparini, Coulibay, Delofeu, Micin, Palumbo) Coach: Cioffi (substituting Gotti)

REFEREE: Mr. Aureliano from Bologna
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Patric, Fares, Lucas Leiva, Akpa Akpro, Arslan, Samir (U); Extra Time: 1st Half 3′; 2nd Half 4′