Lazio 1-1 Torino: A Draw of Broken Promises & Disappointment (Serie A Matchday 24)

Lazio defender Stephan Lichtsteiner, of Switzerland, left, and Torino midfielder Eugenio Corini compete for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Torino, in Rome's Olympic stadium, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009. (AP Photo by ANDREW MEDICHINI)

Lazio vs. Torino Saturday really evoked punk-rock band Greenday to me for some reason. Must be because of that song, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams“, which seemed to perfectly illustrate the Stadio Olimpico tonight: two teams with high expectations early in the season (Champions League for Lazio, mid-table ranking for Torino) and who now find themselves with their face in the gutter.

The key number here was four. Four consecutive losses for the Biancocelesti, four consecutive draws for the Granata (plus a victory which has been eluding them since the last days of December). And would you be surprised if I told that even tonight the honours were even, resulting in one point per side not really helping either team but which at least puts an end to manager Delio Rossi’s losing streak. Odds are that it still won’t be enough to keep his job safe for much longer…


Serie A 2008-09 - Day 24 - Lazio 1-1 Torino

Tactically, Rossi had to deal with the suspensions of Zarate & De Silvestri and was thus forced to field the unusual Rocchi-Pandev-Foggia trio up front. In midfield Dabo was given the role of playmaker in lieu of Ledesma, an experiment which as we shall turned out to be rather unproductive. On the other end Novellino proposed a one-striker formation (Ventola) well-supported by offensive midfielders Dzemaili & Rosina (the latter almost given a free role for this match).

Right from the first few minutes of play it became rapidly clear where this match was headed (at least in terms of playing style): Lazio would attempt to dictate the play, Torino would relentlessly pressure the ball and operate on counters. In other words the reins of the game were left entirely at the Biancocelesti’s disposal: it was up to them to elevate the level & make something happen. Unfortunately, lack of inspiration and Torino’s good defensive work prevented them from doing so, in particular because playmaking (i.e. Dabo) was nowhere to be seen on the hosts’ side.

Torino defender Marco Pisano, left, competes for the ball with Lazio forward Tommaso Rocchi during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Torino in Rome's Olympic stadium, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009. (AP Photo by ANDREW MEDICHINI)

So inevitably the deadlock would have to be broken by an unpredictable event, something which Ignazio Abate took care of in minute 36. Dabo missed his defensive clearance following a corner-kick, the U-21 winger collected the ball on the edge of the box and slammed a powerful low shot which left Muslera no chance. First goal for Abate under his new colours, 1-0 Torino and a deserved lead for the visitors.

In the second half Rossi tried to fix his midfield problem (exit Dabo, enter Mauri) but without much success. The only highlight worthy of mention seemed to be Kolarov’s cannonball practice on referee Saccani (a 25m shot which hit the man in black right in the face) and which certainly seemed to please the Stadio Olimpico fans. Who could blame them? It was the only kind of entertainment available.

Eventually though, just like the first goal had appeared out of nowhere so did Lazio’s equalizer. Following yet another corner, Rocchi’s cross found the overhead kick of Mauri, who grazed the ball just enough to send towards Sebastiano Siviglia on the second post. The center-back adjusted an unmissable header past Sereni (1-1) and then ran under the Lazio stands with the “ears extended” celebration routine. He expected to receive applause, ended up getting booed until the full-time whistle instead. Fortunately there were just 15 minutes left, a time during which Lazio pushed their opponents back but were incapable of mustering any more scoring chances.

Lazio defender Sebastiano Siviglia, right, celebrates after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Torino, in Rome's Olympic stadium, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009. (AP Photo by ANDREW MEDICHINI)


S.S. Lazio
[Match Highlights]
Torino F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 36’ Abate (T), 75’ Siviglia (L)
LAZIO (4-3-3): Muslera – Lichtsteiner, Siviglia, Cribari, Kolarov – Brocchi, Dabo (46’ Mauri), Matuzalem – Pandev (81’ S.Inzaghi), Foggia, Rocchi. (bench: Carrizo, Rozenhal, Radu, Manfredini, F.Mancini). Coach: D.Rossi
TORINO (4-3-2-1): Sereni – Colombo, Dellafiore, Natali, Pisano – Abate (82’ Diana), Corini (81’ Barone), P.Zanetti – Rosina, Dzemaili – Ventola (89’ Stellone). (bench: Calderoni, Di Loreto, Diana, Gasbarroni, Bianchi). Coach: Novellino.


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Posted in Lazio, Serie A, Torino |

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