Vidal and Patric Poor Acting Turn Lazio – Inter Into a Farce

In a day already marred by the disappointing Juventus – Napoli drama, the Serie A gave another poor account of itself on Sunday afternoon as Lazio and Inter shared the spoils at the Stadio Olimpico in a match that saw two players sent off for what were some simply pathetic simulations.

Lautaro Martinez and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic set the score at 1-1 on the pitch, whereas Ciro Immobile and Stefano Sensi were sent off before full-time by referee Marco Guida – courtesy of their naive actions of course, but also of Arturo Vidal and Patric’s poor acting. Football is a different thing.

For the match with the Biancocelesti, Inter looked back at history as they wore their third kit – clearly inspired to an outfit they used to wear in the 1997-98 season, when they had thrashed Lazio in a famous UEFA Cup Final.

It was the day of Arturo Vidal’s debut as a starter among the Inter lines, with Antonio Conte also re-proposing Milan Skriniar in defense and Roberto Gagliardini in the center of midfield. Christian Eriksen was once again left on the bench.

Joaquin Correa was Ciro Immobile’s attacking partner in Simone Inzaghi’s lineup, with Patric replacing Patricio Gabarron in defense versus their poor showing against Atalanta last Wednesday.

The Stadio Olimpico battle was off to a slow start and the first real save of the game came only after 18 minutes, with Samir Handanovic pushing back a threatening effort from Luis Alberto. Three minutes earlier, Simone Inzaghi already had to go for a change as Stefan Radu raised a white flag due to an injury. He was replaced by Bastos.

Lautaro Martinez’s volley in the 27th minute, trying to make the best out of a Nicolò Barella cross from the right, was Inter’s answer. The Argentine’s effort missed the target. One minute later, however, Lautaro found the back of the net. This time, he was served from the left by Ivan Perisic. The Croatian provided El Toro a fine pass in the middle of the box, and Martinez had the better of three Lazio defenders to slot the ball home.

More problems for Inzaghi came in the 34th minute as Adam Marusic also had to leave the pitch. Mohamed Fares took his place but the Moroccan’s first contribution was being booked for a reckless tackle on his fellow countryman Achraf Hakimi.

After the half time break, Inzaghi had to change again: Off went Bastos – who thus ended up playing only for 30 minutes – and in came Marco Parolo.

Ciro Immobile faced by Arturo Vidal and Milan Skriniar. Immobile would eventually be sent off by the referee for a slapping the Chilean

Right after the restart, it was Inter again to hit the gas: A fine combination between Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku set the Belgian free to go for a shot that ended just inches away from the goal target. Six minutes later, it was Martinez to got for the kill one more time as he swept the ball towards Thomas Strakosha’s goal only to see it crashing into the empty stands.

Yet, Lazio managed to draw level in the 54th minute as  Sergej Milinkovic-Savic turned a Francesco Acerbi cross into an excellent header that caught both his marker Ivan Perisic and goalkeeper Samir Handanovic by surprise on the near post.

The Biancocelesti took courage and came to threaten Handanovic three more times in the following minutes as Luis Alberto first called Inter’s goalie to action again and then was providentially blocked by Alessandro Bastoni.

It seemed like Lazio had now gained control of the match, so Antonio Conte tried to reshuffle his cards as he sent in Ashley Young for Ivan Perisic and Stefano Sensi for Roberto Gagliardini.

But it was some poor drama to make the match take yet another turn in the 70th minute when Ciro Immobile naively slapped Arturo Vidal and the Chilean collapsed to the ground like he was struck by lightning. Immobile received his marching orders from referee Marco Guida. It was a stupid reaction on the part of Lazio’s striker even taking Vidal’s ridiculous acting into account.

After a Marcelo Brozovic effort was deflected by the Lazio defense on the post, Simone Inzaghi’s side repaid Inter in their same coin as Patric fell to the ground after receiving a light shove from Stefano Sensi. The outcome was the same, with referee Guida sending the Inter midfielder off. A frankly demeaning show.

With the game now turned into a farce and more yellow cards dispensed by the referee as he tried to keep the situation under control, the full-time whistle delivered one point to each side and wrapped a bad show and some poor exposure for the Serie A. Their fans deserve better than this.



October 4, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 3

SCORERS: 30′ Lautaro Martinez (I), 55′ Milinkovic-Savic (L)

LAZIO (3-5-2): Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, S. Radu (15′ Bastos, 46′ Parolo); Lazzari, Milinkovic, Leiva (80′ Escalante), Luis Alberto (80′ Akpa-Akpro), Marusic (34′Fares); Correa, Immobile (Reina, Alia, D.Anderson, Armini, Caicedo, Cataldi) Coach: S. Inzaghi
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar (80′ D’Ambrosio) De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Vidal (73′ Brozovic), Gagliardini (66′ Sensi), Perisic (66′ Young); Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez (80′ Sanchez) (I. Radu, Padelli, Eriksen, Kolarov, Pinamonti, Pirola, Ranocchia) Coach: Conte

REFEREE: Mr. Guida from Pompei
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Fares, Patric (L), Lukaku, Vidal, Barella (I); Red Cards: Immobile (L), Sensi (I); Extra Time: 1st  Half 3′, 2nd Half 4′