Saturday Sep 20, 2014  
     
 
  12/03/2012: "A Sour Taste"
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It was a fantastic week for everyone involved at Lazio, firstly beating city rivals AS Roma and then 7000 fans arriving for training to celebrate with the team.

Expectations had been running high after the Derby victory and even talk of a late Scudetto push was being mentioned amongst the fans and media.

Coming into Sunday evenings encounter with Bologna, three points would have seen Lazio move just two points behind Juventus, and five points clear of nearest challengers Napoli and Udinese.

However, things are not that straightforward when it comes to Lazio. Despite the squad still missing key players, on paper Lazio should have strolled through the match with Bologna.

Losing the match wouldn’t have been too hard to swallow, but losing two more players to red cards leaves a sour taste in the mouth of Edy Reja and after Sundays match the 66 year old said that “There’s no point crying over spilt milk, though, so we just have to keep going forward. I have to thank the fans, who supported us even when we were left with nine men. Admittedly, Lazio are not in the best condition right now.”

Was the tactician to blame for defeat against Bologna? The addition of Luciano Zauri didn’t lie well with the fans and his lack of desire to defend with a passion has not gone down well with the Supporters.

Poor discipline has cost Reja’s men once more, if things are not bad enough with an ever growing injury list, Reja has had to do without key players due to suspensions for far too long this campaign.

Despite Reja suggesting the Biancoceleste could mount a Scudetto push just last week, the defeat to Bologna has quickly changed his mind and now the tactician has suggested that finishing third would be a miracle “To finish third would be a bit of a miracle considering the strength of our rivals. Over the week we have to think of some new options, seeing as I am losing another two midfielders to suspension.”

Results like this should have been inevitable though considering the options for team selection of late. But after a fantastic win last weekend, why couldn’t the team take that momentum into the match against Bologna?

The team should have treated every match from now until the end of the season like a cup final, seeing what the team could have achieved should have been enough to spur them on even more. With just 11 matches remaining and no other competition to compete in, Lazio had to take advantage of the next few fixtures.
While being hit hard with absentees, maybe Reja should have opted for some younger talent to fill the gaps. With most of the Primavera squad growing up in Rome, they know what it should mean to play in a Lazio shirt.

In the next month Lazio face Catania, Cagliari and Parma, matches that would normally see the Biancoceleste as favourites. However with more absentees added to that list it is going to be an extremely tough task for the squad to come through these fixtures as winners.

Finishing third now should be Lazio’s sole aim. And that would be a great achievement never the less. However it does leave a feeling of what could have been for Reja and our Lazio.

(Ben Lally)
 
 
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