Monday Sep 20, 2021  
  09/01/2014: The Second Coming of Edoardo Reja
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Just as predicted, a fresh new face in the coaching role did wonders for SS Lazio in this week's fixture against Inter Milan. Well kind of, Edy Reja was the previous mastermind in resurrecting Lazio during a similar situation back in 2010.

His second coming has been fruitful though, delivering the 1-0 home win against a big side and securing the very valuable 3 points the team so desperately needed to stop the perilous slide down the table.

Some may complain of his deep defensive old school counter attacking, catenaccio type methods that are very boring to watch but yield results. This being the opposite of previous attendant Vladimir Petkovic's more reckless all out attack that started off well when he first took over and was new to Serie A, but as each rival team soon adapted to his tactics style it all began to fail.

The game began with almost silence from the Curva Nord, who were very quiet even throughout the game, only able to be heard on rare occasions often drowned out by the travelling fans. Lazio started from the beginning in a defensive formation, allowing Inter to attack, but successfully absorbing the pressure except on a few occasions when Inter players were able to break through, although denied any direct shots on goal, Inter having only 1 in the entire game.

Not everything went Edy's way though with Italian National team back up goal keeper Fedrico Marchetti being unavailable due to injury, having to rely instead on the untested, newly signed 6 foot 5 Albania Etrit Berisha. The gamble paid off though with Berisha making some crucial saves including an intense close up shot from Yuto Nagatomo on the 61st minute, doing very well on his big game debut, most importantly keeping a clean sheet.

He has also reinstated stand in captain for the suspended Stefano Mauri, Cristian Ledesma, who had been put on the bench by Petkovic and rightly so as he is prone to errors and defensive lapses among other misgivings, as new signing Argentine Lucas Biglia, although far from perfect had scored slightly higher ratings per game sat on the bench and looked on.

Ledesma repaying Reja's faith by winning more than a few free kicks, but on the other side of the coin also with his usual over kicked, inaccurate passing and free kicks, poor crossing and defensive blunders being the reason he was placed on the bench in the first place. Thankfully for Lazio fans it did not lead to them to conceding but also did not directly lead to them scoring either with all the free kicks being wasted. This complimented with picking up a yellow card on the 87th minute for a bad foul.

Ledesma is a tricky one, being a player that was so important to the team in the past simply because there was no substitute for his position, Lazio being forced to make do with him for many seasons now until the arrival of Biglia, President Claudio Lotito explained the situation by stating people complained "that Cristian Ledesma was the only midfield regista and now that Lucas Biglia has joined they complain anyway."

Good news is that Brazilian national team player Hernanes 'The Prophet' seems to have come alive under Reja though, being in somewhat of a slumber all season, the new leadership of Reja seemingly having given him a boost of inspiration to actually play enthusiastically for a change. He had a very energetic and productive game, carving open the Inter defence numerous times, with plenty of runs dribbling past players and beating defenders, including one spectacular through ball to Antonio Candreva on the 66th minute giving him a fantastic chance to score, but unfortunately Candreva failing to capitialize on the 1 on 1 with the keeper situation was left frustrated, backtracking and trying to tackle to regain the ball.

The breakthrough came on the 81st minute, with a resurgent Miroslav Klose pouncing on a Ogenyi Onazi, Luis Pedro Cavanda and then Candreva link up, who then delivered a pinpoint accurate cross to Klose who volleyed into the goal with his right foot giving Inter keeper Samir Handanovic no chance. Klose, who if anyone is familiar with the German's goal tally and track record throughout his career would know, if you feed him the right kind of ammunition, he will fire them home accurately and with extreme gusto.

Edy has also expressed his need to reinforce the lacking defence with his old captain, Napoli's Paolo Cannavaro who he has previously worked with and could be available in this transfer window.

Lazio defender Stefan Radu describing the victory to Sky Sport Italia as "This was an important victory for us". Feeling the heat of a team under pressure, he also added "Hopefully this gives us a bit of breathing space." Radu also professing that the change of coach has been very important in starting the year off with new hopes and high spirit, "We hope to continue like this. The coach has been very important for us, "He knows the team and gave us the energy we needed. We've shown what we're all about and we're committed to the end".

Well if this a sign of things to come, all I can say is on behalf of all Laziali, let me congratulate everyone involved within the club who made this victory possible.

Welcome home Edoardo Reja..... once again, encore.
Author: Michael D Bailey
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