martedì 9 aprile 2013

Lazio and Roma draw 1-1

It was a  phsycological more then tactical battle between two sides that both had chances to win. Vladimir Petkovic lined up his classic 4-1-4-1 featuring Alvaro Gonzalez as right back with Stefan Radu on the opposite side while Senad Lulic was operating up as left winger.

Roma were surprisingly using a 4-3-1-2 formation when they was suited to utilize a 3-5-2/3-4-3 shape under new manager Aurelio Andreazzoli. Roma was without Pablo Osvaldo so Andreazzoli utilized Erik Lamela up front paired with a Francesco Totti playing his usual 'false nine' role while Miralem Pjanic was acting as attacking midfielder.

Lazio's attitude in the first half was clearly to take control of the game as they sat deep looking for counter-attacks. Petkovic's key of the match was how to control Daniele De Rossi, Roma's deep-lying playmaker. It was unusual to see Petkovic opt to use Miroslav Klose chasing De Rossi. But with this move Lazio's midfielders didn't press high up the pitch so neither Cristian Ledesma neither the 'mezzeali' was jumping high up to stop De Rossi so Petkovic's midfield was able to stay close. On the other hand, with Klose dropped onto De Rossi, Roma's flat four defence was given more freedom, but it didn't produce good passes as Giallorossi settled down the game into a slow tempo. By the way, Roma was attacking while Lazio was playing a counter-attacking match. Andreazzoli's left-sided players, midfielder Alessandro Florenzi and left back Marquinho, pushed up while the right-sided players, Vasilis Torosidis and Michael Bradley, stayed in a more defensive spot. It meant Roma was a bit unbalanced as its' focus was playing down the left flank, playing a sort of 4-2-2-2 with Bradley and De Rossi as central midfielders. Despite an active game, Roma didn't create scoring chances lacking ideas in the final third, with Lazio comfortable defending and packing the midfield with Brazilian Hernanes and Ogenyi Onazi playing as interior midifelders. Also, width wasn't here and Lazio easily shut out Roma's attacks.

Things changed in the 16th minute, when Hernanes set the 0-1 finding the net in an open play following a Roma's corner kick. From that point, Roma litterally disappeared and looked unlikely to score. De Rossi distribution was disappointing, even when given time on the ball -- due to the fact that Klose pressure on him was far from effective -- while Pjanic was unable to find gaps in front of the opposite's defence. Totti was the only effective of his team’s attacking package, dropping deep to open gaps up front for the upcoming teammates.

Four minutes into the second half and things went worse for Giallorossi as Lazio was awarded a penalty kick. But Hernanes missed and it turned a disastrous -- for Rome --  game into a nice one. Andreazzoli took De Rossi off, inserting forward Mattia Destro and switching his shape to a 4-3-3 with Pjanic in the holding spot, while Destro was acting as centre forward paired with Totti, as left forward, and Lamela, as right forward. Few minutes after Hernanes missing his penalty kick and Brazilian gave away a penalty that Totti converted to draw. Into its new 4-3-3 shape, Roma dominated the residual of the match specially after Lazio's defender Giuseppe Biava was sent off. Also, Lazio was playing too much long, not tight, vulnerable against Rome' penetrations. With the game on their hand, Giallorossi was unable to score again, as Florenzi and Lamela wasted two good scoring opportunities while goalkeeper Federico Marchetti made a tremendous job.

At the end, there were a penalty factor here: Lazio missed it while Roma converted. Andreazzoli's side started attacking but they was uneffective while Petkovic's narrow defence, already significantly tested, played a solid game. Hernanes' missed penalty shifted the momentum. But Andreazzoli's thought to change the overall pattern looking for the whidt had some effects too.

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