Saturday Jul 26, 2014  
     
 
  22/03/2012: Running out of Valid Excuses?
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Lazio lose again. Not something I thought I would hear myself say again after the victory in the Derby della Capitale, but inconsistency has taken its toll on Lazio’s season and the third and final Champions League spot is now slipping out of their grasp.

Despite back to back defeats to Bologna and Catania, the Biancoceleste still hold onto third position thanks to other teams not taking advantage of Lazio’s poor form.

Coach Edy Reja has had that same list of excuses tucked away inside his jacket pocket all season, and to be fair to Lazio, they have been valid ones. Decapitated by injuries and the sun shining in Miroslav Klose’s eyes are just a few the coach has used and many would suggest Lazio are still overachieving this campaign.

Reja mentioned in his post match interview that “Considering what we saw on the field, we didn’t deserve to lose. We do have to do better in converting our opportunities and it’s a shame Miroslav Klose had the sun in his eyes for a great chance, as the game could’ve changed with our goal”

Although it has been a long and winding road for the fans especially, matches against the likes of Bologna and Catania should have been turned into wins for a team of Lazio’s calibre.

Poor discipline has had its helping hand in recent results. Lazio are no strangers to the odd red card and it will prove pivotal in the final league standings. Having to switch formations and positions constantly due to injuries, players missing through suspension has been enough to make Reja’s teeth itch this term.

With Stefano Mauri back amongst the first team, it has provided that much needed strength that has been missing in the middle of the park. Along with Christian Brocchi, Stefan Radu and Abdoulay Konko also look like nearing full fitness, which is great news for the coach and the fans.

There are some decisive matches left for Lazio to conquer, the type that could prove costly in the race for third. The Biancocelesti’s form against the top teams in Serie A has been relatively good, and this will be important when facing the likes of Juventus, Milan, Napoli and Inter before the season’s out.

The 66 year old said “There is a long way to go for the Champions League and we are still in the running, I think third place will be decided on head to head results”
With Napoli, Udinese and AS Roma all looking to make a final push as the season draws to a close, The Biancoceleste know that with each club chipping away at their heels, they must gain momentum against Cagliari next Sunday.

Although finishing third would be a miracle for Lazio, to throw it all away now would be heart breaking. Reja and his men now have the chance to take advantage of other results and make one final push for third place.

With just nine matches remaining, it is time for the players to turn into gladiators and treat every match as if it were their last. What means most for the fans is that the players sweat blood for their colours.

(Ben Lally)
 
 
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