Lazio 2-0 Bologna: Mauro Zarate Makes the Eagles Soar… (Serie A Matchday 26)

Lazio's Argentine forward Mauro Matias Zarate (R) celebrates after scoring against Bologna during their Serie A football match at Olympic stadium in Rome on February 28, 2009. (AFP/Getty Images)

After nearly two months of hunger Lazio made peace with the Olimpico crowd Saturday, defeating Bologna with two goals by Mauro Zarate and obtaining their first home victory of 2009. It was a double-rebirth of sorts, with the the team collectively answering their coach’s “wake-up” call and their Argentine striker (whose last goal was in mid-December) finally returning his name to the scoreboard. Coupled with Matuzalem’s recovery and Foggia’s first top-notch performance of the season, Delio Rossi can be quite satisfied with how his week-end started.

The same cannot be said for Sinisa Mihajlovic unfortunately. His team’s currently 17th in the Serie A standings, one measley point above the first relegated side (who still have to play on Sunday). Despite a very active Marco Di Vaio, Bologna simply were off their pace today: only the entrance of Marazzina (coupled with the removal of Rodriguez) managed to improve the predictability the Rossoblu had shown in the first half. Mihajlovic knows he will need much better performances from his men if he intends to keep Bologna in the Italian top-flight division.

Serie A 2008-09 - Lazio vs. Bologna

Serie A 2008-09 - Day 26 - Lazio 2-0 Bologna

Tactically, Rossi confirmed thei anti-Lecce formation from last week, aka Foggia wide on the left and the Pandev-Zarate duo up front. The only novelty was Lorenzo De Silvestri replacing injured right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. On the other end, business as usual for Bologna: 4-5-1 formation, thick midfield (featuring Diego Rodriguez on the left), Marco Di Vaio up front. And a boatload of ex-Biancocelesti: Mihajlovic, Belleri, Di Vaio, Mudingayi, and Mutarelli just to name a few.

In the early minutes Lazio immediately started the game with an aggressive stance, actively pressuring their opponents and never hesitating to take shooting opportunities, especially from long-range. Foggia, Brocchi, and Zarate all tried their luck (without particularly good results however), and with Bologna content at holding back in the last third, the Biancocelesti progressively confirmed their hold on ball possession and creativity.

Lazio midfielder Pasquale Foggia, right in white shorts, in action with Bologna's Claudio Terzi, left, and Manuel Belleri, in midground, during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Bologna at Rome's Olympic stadium, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.  (AP Photo)

Just over the half-hour mark, an unnecessary foul by Mudingayi on Bologna’s right side resulted in a good free-kick opportunity for the home team. Mauro Zarate stepped up to do the inswinging honours, and sent a beautiful shot over the wall straight into Antonioli’s net. The keeper didn’t budge and it was 1-0 Lazio, with Zarate not missing the opportunity to unleash his “I can’t hear you” celebration onto his fans. The half thus ended with Rossi’s side having a firm grip on the proceedings, Bologna’s isolated reaction being a Rodriguez shot deflected into corner by Cribari.

In the second period Mihajlovic introduced Mutarelli and Marazzina, and just like he did against Inter the previous week, the Rossoblu striker immediately had a good impact on the game: headed deflection on a corner-kick (saved), volleyed effort from just outside the box (wide). Bologna started to believe again.

Unfortunately, that is the moment Lazio chose to make it two: Zarate obtained the ball on the edge, exchanged passes with Rocchi (who had just come on for Pandev) and beat Antonioli for the second time. Lovely chip over the advancing keeper, and 2-0 Lazio. Rocchi himself almost made it three on two separate occasions, finding his accuracy a little bit off the mark.

After one final Di Vaio attempt (volleyed effort parried away by Muslera), the match ended under the cheers of the Olimpico: the Biancolesti had returned to victory and it was about time.

Lazio's Mauro Matias Zarate, of Argentina, at center facing camera, is congratulated by his teammates after scoring during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Bologna at Rome's Olympic stadium, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.  (AP Photo)


S.S. Lazio
[Match Highlights]
Bologna F.C. 1909
GOALSCORERS: 36’, 81’ Zarate (L).
LAZIO (4-3-3): Muslera – De Silvestri, Siviglia, Cribari, Kolarov – Brocchi (79’ Manfredini), Ledesma, Matuzalem (74’ Dabo) – Pandev (69’ Rocchi), Zarate, Foggia. (bench: Carrizo, Rozenhal, Radu, Mauri). Coach: D.Rossi.
BOLOGNA (4-5-1): Antonioli – Belleri, Britos, Terzi, Lanna – Valiani (46’ Mutarelli), Mudingayi (80’ Coelho), Volpi, Mingazzini, Rodriguez (46’ Marazzina) – Di Vaio. (bench: Colombo, Castellini, C.Amoroso, C.Zenoni). Coach: Mihajlovic.


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Posted in Bologna, Lazio, Serie A |

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