Lazio: Bizzarri, Konko ('85 Kozak), Biava, Dias, Radu, Cana, Ledesma, Cisse ('65 Rocchi), Hernanes ('46 Gonzalez), Lulic, Klose.
Chievo: Sorrentino, Frey, Andreolli, Cesar, Jokic, Luciano ('75 Sammarco), Bradley, Hatemay, Thereau ('81 Morero), Pellisier, Paloschi ('73 Moscardelli).
Lazio disappoint again as Chievo manage to travel home from Rome for the fourth consecutive time without losing. Chievo was closer to winning the game and could have been up by four – five goals had it not been for luck and Bizzarri showing he, as different everyone else on the pitch today, has enough pride to do his job.
It was an awful Lazio that Reja managed to get together for this final game of the year. In essence it was very much the same Lazio as we have come to be accustomed to, with no creativity and no soul being present on the pitch, the difference today was that Klose and Ledesma were worse than usual so there was no one around to save Lazio and continue to give the fans a reason to hope for a good season.
How Lazio can perform this bad can only be speculated on, but no one watching this game can be satisfied with anything else than the fact that Lazio did not lose. In the first half, that started with Chievo hitting the crossbar in the third minute and was followed up by at least five quality chances after that against a Lazio defense supposedly being back to full strength with Konko, Biava, Dias and Radu. Cana and Ledesma in the defensive part of the midfield made all followers of Lazio again ask the question why Lazio spent so much time and energy into bringing over the Albanian, and Cisse, Hernanes and Lulic were invisible. Klose did not get many balls to work with, added to a positioning that ore reminded of a retired player than one having ambitions to become the top scorer.
In some miraculous way Lazio managed to keep it tight at the back during the first half, but the team looked no better after the half time whistle. Reja, at this point running pit of the few ideas he has presented so far this season, tried to switch to a back three and brought out an awful Hernanes for Gonzalez. The Uruguayan, having won Copa America and finally become an option in the midfield for Lazio, had 45 minutes of missed crosses and passes and one has to wonder how players with so low technical quality can be professional and play at a club in this level.
Lazio managed to put a little bit of pressure on Chievo in the second half, mostly due to Chievo deciding to protect the point that was theirs to begin with. Despite the more defensive attitude it was Chievo who had the more dangerous chances in the second half as well, but Bizzarri managed to keep a clean sheet for once. At the other end of the pitch nothing happened for the full 90 minutes and the only player this evening showing that it makes a difference how things go for the team was Rocchi, who when brought on at least tried to get the intensity up. Nothing worked this evening though and while the teams competing for the top spots keep winning their games Lazio and Reja showed again that they have no idea of how to dictate a game at home. In seven games before this one Chievo had conceded 14 goals. Lazio did not create one dangerous occasion in 90 minutes. Corners, crosses, shots and passes were wasted regularly and the quality to deliver the final ball ws missing. Symbolic is the fact that when Lazio pushed for a win towards the end it was with midfielders named Ledesma, Gonzalez, Lulic and Cana. Neither of whom are known for being creative, technical nor players who have the edge to decide games. Ledesma had the poorest game in the Lazio shirt since a long time and when things are not working well for him, then no one else is around to take responsibility. When then Klose failed to save Reja again as he missed a brilliant chance with header on an injury time corner things were over. Lazio had again showed they are no team for the top of the league.
Reja and the players showed this evening they care very little for the club, the team and how things go, In the first half the display was sickening for a Lazio fan and there can be no excuses for why Lazio played so bad. Now comes a winter break and maybe the club has to consider cleaning the team of the bad blood and bring on some new players. Or maybe the Primavera players could be played so that the existing once in the senior squad start taking things seriously.
To round of, Lazio ended 2011 in the worse possible way with a humiliating display at home. The only positive is the point that was one due to the Chievo players being incompetent in front of goal. A much needed rest is awaiting the players now and some of them have some thinking to do. Hernanes, Radu, Cisse and Gonzalez are four players that have had 16 games to show their worth and rather shown that they no longer belong to a top team and at this level. Reja has plenty of thinking to do as his team has been underachieving at Stadio Olimpico all season and today’s display simply manifested the veteran coach has no clue of how to dictate games. Lazio today show they are mediocre at best, and that fans better stop hoping for bigger and better things as the quality, determination and desire are not present. Not amongst the players and definitely not in the coach.