Clinical finishing from Empoli was decisive for their 2-1 victory over in-form Lazio.
The home team started off really well and made a few good attacks which gave them a chance to take two free kicks close to Lazio’s goal. Empoli didn’t manage to convert at least one of them into a shot on goal and to make Berisha work but that surely sent a message to the visiting team that they are not the only ones who want a win from this game. Pioli’s men didn’t wait too long to answer back with a few good shots from Candreva, Parolo and Drojdjevic but all them were off target. There was an appeal for a penalty by Maccarone in the 20th minute of the match but it was waved off from the referee. Empoli’s captain was the player causing Lazio problems and trying to score a goal but his attempts were fruitless. Maccarone for sure was Empoli’s most dangerous player in the first half and De Vrij and Ciani had to work a lot to keep him away from Berisha’s goal. A few minutes before half time bad news came for Lazio. The team captain Mauri was subbed off due to an injury. Ederson was the man who took his place and will have to show that he is regaining good form after scoring a goal last week against Cagliari.
The second half was much more interesting and it had lots of interesting things to see. Empoli again started well and were looking for a quick goal and this time they managed to find it. After a corner kick Barba was the man who jumped higher than anyone else and scored. It just took four minutes until the next goal came. This time a nice flick pass from a free kick managed to surprise Lazio’s defence and Maccarone was in the box all alone and had the time he needed to score a second goal for his team and be so close to a valuable win. This looked like a moment which will knock out Lazio but they kept on trying to score a goal and get back into the game and ten minutes after Empoli’s second goal a good combination between Biglia and Candreva ended with a cross and a goal from Djordjevic. This surely gave Pioli’s men a much needed moral and energy boost to keep on looking for more goals that might give them at least one point. Empoli were well packed in defence and didn’t give the visiting team much scoring chances and they mainly relied on crosses from Candreva, Cavanda and Lulic hoping that Djordjevic or the substitute Klose can do some of their magic in the box and score an equalizing goal. Nothing like this happened and Lazio finally lost after a good run of five wins and one draw in their last six games.
This was a game full of mistakes in midfield from both teams, a lot of shots but most of them were off goal and the team that managed to find their good touch in the right moments of the game won. You can decide by yourselves if Empoli deserved the three points and what went wrong with Lazio. Was is the tactics, were the players drained and out of energy from their past games, was the starting eleven picked correctly. Questions will be asked, answers will be awaited from everyone. My person man of the match wasn’t one player. I was quite impressed by Maccarone who was all around Lazio’s defence – running, fighting, trying to find a way towards the goal and in the end he did it and his team won valuable three points. My second man of the match was again from the home team and his name is Pucciarelli – similarly to Maccarone he was all around the pitch. Fighting, running, helping both in defence and midfield. As a final sentence I can only say that this is a game to forget. Let’s be positive and hope that better weekends will come.