One more game before two weeks of preparation for the derby, the long awaited chance of stopping the humiliation that has lasted for five straight games now.
To travel to Florence and face a Fiorentina side that has started the season positively,while Lazio has managed only one win in the last six games, was always going to be a hard game. With the pressure building up for the Roman clash, a win would mean a fresh wind of confidence blowing through Formello and allowing Edy Reja to work in a little peace during the build up. A loss, on the other hand, would send Lazio off to a two week anxiety.
The first half started in the worse of ways, with Cerci getting a goal as early as in 8’. Jovetic managed to get a good pass back to the Rome youth product, and with apassive Lazio defence shouting for offside, Cerci saw the ball find the back ofthe net.
The half was a slow one with a high degree of insecurity and inaccuracy in the passing game for both teams. With the many mistakes the tempo went down, and Lazio despite having the possession for long periods, could not create any real danger against the Viola goal.
Not until 20’, when Hernanes showed a few seconds of brilliance. He received the ball inside the penalty area and when De Silvestri in the right hand defence of Fiorentina failed to put pressure on the Brazilian, the great finish found the back of the net.
Lazio continued to own the ball, but without any clear idea of how to attack with the ball in the team, Fiorentina had a quite easy time sitting back and waiting for Lazio mistakes. Apart from a few less dangerous attempts at getting to goal from both teams, referee Bergonzi whistled the first half over at 45’.
The second half was very much a different story than the first, where Fiorentina created chances and Lazio struggled. More than anyone, Radu struggled with Cerci.
The Romanian being back from injury had a fairly good control in the first half, but as the half progressed, Radu got it tougher and tougher. Unfortunately, Lazio very much looked like running out of steam in the second half, and the Fiorentina pressure felt more and more constant. Apart from a Dias header earlyin the half that was directed straight at Boruc in the goal, very little was created offensively.
Cisse made his weakest appearance since joining, and Klose could do little alone up front.
One player in biancocelesti had an impressive Sunday: Marchetti. The Italian saved Lazio from conceding in crucial moments, such as after 13, 16 and 23 minutes of the second half. Added to these three dangerous moments, a handful of other attempts, and Fiorentina not being able to score was very much thanks to Marchetti being in the right place and Gilardino being out injured.
With some substitutions made by Reja, Lazio managed to balance the game out a little bit. The duo of Gonzalez and Radu were replaced by Sculli and Lulic, and as the clock reached 80’ more and more looked like a draw was on the cards.
Reja had clearly instructed the players to not lose position, and same had Mihajlovic, so for the spectators it was not a game to be remembered for its brilliant tempo, speed and many chances.
After a confusing substitutions,when Matuzalem were put on the field without being aware of that he was to replace Cisse, Sculli was moved over to the left flank and Klose positioned himself centrally as the lone striker.
With seven minutes left on the clock, Ledesma launched a high ball towards Sculli inside the box, and the former Genoa player found Klose inside the box,who made no mistakes and put Lazio in front. The rest of the game saw Lazio defending their lead, while Fiorentina had a hard time hitting back after the surprising Lazio goal.
Reja will now be given some room to prepare for the upcoming derby. With a win, yet failing to impress throughout the 90 minutes, Lazio hang on to the top of the league and distanced themselves from the bottom. The coach had rightfully stated before the game that the results count, not if we play nice or not, and showed exactly what he meant this afternoon.
Fiorentina: Boruc, De Silvestri, Gamberini, Natali, Pasqual, Behrami, Montolivo, Lazzari(Kharja 81’), Cerci, Jovetic, Vargas (Silva 55’).
Lazio:Marchetti, Konko, Stankevicius, Dias, Radu (Sculli 65’), Gonzalez (Lulic 60’),Ledesma, Brocchi, Hernanes, Cisse (Matuzalem 75’), Klose.