Genoa: Frey, Mesto, Granqvist, Kaladze, Constant, Jankovic (84’ Birsa), Kucka, Biondini, Sculli (78’ Belluschi), Palacios, Gilardino.
Lazio: Marchetti, Konko, Diakite, Stankevicius (67’ Biava), Garrido (62’ Rozzi), Gonzalez, Ledesma, Matuzalem, Lulic, Klose, Rocchi (17’ Candreva).
As Lazio coach Reja had in advance warned for the team not getting the proper preparations in order to be fully ready for the clash against Genoa, not many Lazio supporters could be hoping for anything but a loss. When then the starting formation contained a pairing of Stankevicius and Diakite in defense, with Garrido making his first game from start out on the left and a not fully fit Konko to the right, all the hopes were gone. Biava had been ruled out injured just before the game, and Hernanes picked up a similar injury during the warm up. All of this before the start of the game.
The game turned out to be exactly the suffering that could be expected, where Lazio had an equally bad display as the team had against Inter and Siena. The away form that had kept the team high in the standings is gone and with the many players transferred out during the winter mercato the game against Genoa, a team with a game plan that should suit Lazio perfectly, felt harder than it needed to be. With the mistakes then carried out by the Lazio defense during the game the visitors had no chance of bringing the points back home to Rome, despite having enough chances to turn the game in their favour.
The first half was a constant torture for the Lazio faithful, as the newly composed back line – with Marchetti as one of the most miserable pieces today – let Genoa score to goals that easily could have been stopped. Ten minutes into the game Palacio miraculously managed to heel the ball in goal on a corner, a magnificent goal one has to underline, but a goal that would have been stopped if only Marchetti had had one of his defending players cover the back post.
Lazio did create chances in between the Genoa goals, and despite the 4-4-2 that saw Lazio fail drastically against Siena being used Genoa should have seen their advantage be gone by either Gonzalez or Lulic, who both were set up by an outstanding Klose, but failed to convert sitters.
It was only a natural development of this negative lunch time fixture when Ledesma missed an easy pass just outside the Lazio penalty area, Konko failed to repair the mistake, Marchetti mistimed the run to catch the cross sent, Garrido was caught flat-footed and Stankevicius simply looked like the below average player he is when he did not manage to get a slow ball from passing the goal line. Jankovic had doubled the score for Genoa after 25 minutes – despite not impressing at all. When Rocchi was then the next of the Lazio players found injured and replaced by Candreva there was very little that pointed at Lazio having a chance to turn the game around, and the Genoa players with Gilardino, Palacios and the former Lazio player Sculli in attack had a pleasant game against a Lazio defense belonging to Serie B.
The second half had barely started, only ten seconds had passed, when Garrido slipped on a cross sent out right and Jankovic had only Marchetti left to beat for 3-0 as he picked up the ball inside the penalty area. Again, for a Lazio supporter, it felt as if Genoa were given a far too easy path to the three points this time around. Lulic, who constantly put his defender under pressure with his constant runs on the left, forced Mesto to commit a foul inside the area and Ledesma could beautifully light a little bit of hope amongst Laziali with a penalty slotted nicely behind Frey.
One player in Lazio deserves to be praised today, and that is the constant fighter Klose. The German never stopped running and alone kept the Genoa defenders under attack the times Lazio decided to attack the Rossoblu. The bomber did not get any goal to his name this day though, but got an assist to his name when he set up Gonzalez for the 3-2 goal in the 90th minute. Despite four additional minutes being added by Tagliavento Lazio never came close to an equalizer, and when the game ended the feeling of Lazio having lost a game that was highly win-able was more than present. With the team struck severely by injuries, with the management trading off a couple of players that would be good options for starting a game like the one today and a league standing as close and tight as it is, it is hard to not feel that things could have been very different with some choices done differently throughout the season. A game like today’s could in the end be exactly a loss that makes the difference between making Europe next season or not.