SS Lazio Latest News
For Serie A fixtures 2005-2006, visit the Football in Italy fixtures page.
View Lazio's position in the Serie A standings
Since our sorrowful departure from Rome we're no longer bringing the news straight from the horse's mouth, so here are some suggestsed news providers with less bias:
News in English
- Bravo - Bravo now shows live Italian football in the UK, presented by the trusty James Richardson.
- Teamtalk - Has a decent section on world leagues.
- Football Italia - Once they showed live matches, but now they still have an online resource.
News in Italian
24 May 2004: Procession on Friday
This Friday (28th) all Lazio fans are urged to join a procession in support of the club. The aim is for a peacable demonstration of numbers and affection, to remind the city and businessmen who influence the club's survival that we exist and that Lazio is an important part of the city: representing its heritage and its people. It is also possibly because the fans are feeling slightly bereft after the season's end, and keen to meet up with their friends. And it's an opportunity to do something, in the face of anxiety about the club's financial problems and uncertain future. The procession leaves from the Curva Nord at the Stadio Olimpico at 5.30pm, and finishes in Piazza della Libertà, the club's birthplace. Anyone who supports the club, or who would normally
attend a match is encouraged to come along, displaying club colours, scarves, banners etc. Any readers who support Lazio and will be in Rome: do come and join in. It should be a good atmosphere and an important spectacle. Email the webmaster at footballinrome.co.uk if you want to meet up.
End of season: Lazio 2 - Modena 1: sixth place in Serie A
A convincing performance and goals from Corradi and Cesar (followed by a Modena penalty) saw Lazio condemn their opponents to relegation. However, the team's fine effort was not enough to win the coveted fourth place and Champions League entry, as both Parma and Inter notched up victories to remain ahead. But regrets for missed chances were submerged by the party atmosphere at the end of the match, when
the team paraded the Coppa Italia in front of their celebrating fans, and posed for photographs in front of the Curva Nord, along with their small children.
With the season over, the transfer market is taking over the headlines, with Jaap Stam already sold to scudetto-winners Milan.
14 May: LAZIO WIN THE COPPA ITALIA - Juventus 2 - Lazio 2
On the 12th May at the Stadio delle Alpi in Turin, Lazio drew 2-2 with Juventus to win the Coppa Italia 4-2 on aggregate. Going into match with a two goal advantage, Lazio were optimistic, but a fragmentary first half saw Juventus take the lead with a goal by Trezeguet. The home team were playing powerfully and when, a minute into the second half, Del Piero scored their second goal, things looked bad for Lazio.
However, the team began to display their fighting spirit. With the attackers missing chances as normal, Mancini brought on Simone Inzaghi to change the pace up front. Finally Corradi managed to send the ball home and Lazio had the advantage. Twelve minutes later Fiore made a fine shot, from a ball which had eluded both strikers, and scored to set Juventus an impossible task. They would have had to score three more goals to take the title, and with Lazio dominating the pitch they failed to make any progress. The final score was 4-2 on aggregate (with Fiore scoring three of Lazio's goals). Lazio were presented with the Coppa Italia, which they paraded in front of the thousands of fans who had travelled to Turin to see the game. On Sunday there is a victory lap of the Stadio Olimpico planned, to follow the final game of the season.
See the diary to read about our Cup journey to Turin.
10 May: Brescia 2 - Lazio 1
Another game full of missed chances - and of course the inevitable refereeing controversy - saw Lazio's fourth-place hopes dissolve. After going 2-0 down, the team fought back, and scored with a goal from Cesar in the closing minutes. However, not even the return of the Brazilian was enough to save the game, and Lazio were left to mourn their errors.
Hopes now are all concentrated on the final of the Coppa Italia. The second leg is to be played on Wednesday evening at the Stadio delle Alpi in Turin. Lazio go into the game with a 2-0 advantage over Juventus, and thousands of fans (including Football in Rome) are travelling north hoping for a big celebration.
3 May: Lazio 1 - Reggina 1
On the day that AC Milan won their 17th league title, beating Roma in Milan, Lazio endured a draw which echoed the score of their last home game. After last week's goalless away draw against Inter, Lazio were determined to win this season's remaining three games. But Reggina, fighting to avoid relegation, played a determined game. After Lazio took the lead with a goal by Claudio Lopez, the visitors battled on until they were awarded a penalty by erratic referee Bolognino. The penalty was awarded for a push by Favalli - but when exactly the same incident took place at the other end of the pitch, with Corradi the victim, a free-kick was awarded against Lazio. Lazio failed to regain the advantage and ended the afternoon complaining bitterly yet again (with justification) about refereeing standards.
21 April: Lazio 1 - Roma 1
The importantissimo Rome derby ended in a draw tonight, just about ruling Roma out of the Scudetto race. The long-awaited game, a repeat of the derby which was abandoned exactly a month ago, was a low-key affair played at the unsociable hour of six pm. Lazio dominated the first half, outplaying their city rivals and scoring thanks to goal-starved striker Bernardo Corradi. However, Roma began the second half with greater confidence and skill - and with referee Rosetti on their side. A spate of Lazio bookings preceded a debated penalty for Roma, which Totti scored to put the teams on an equal footing. Despite Rosetti's first-half reluctance to produce a yellow card when Roma committed a series of dangerous fouls, in this second half he reached into his pocket and
further penalised Lazio with the sending-off of substitute Fabio Liverani (he and Negro, also booked, will miss Sunday's crucial game against Inter Milan). Lazio were also furious at being denied two penalties. Down to ten men, Lazio fought back and created several chances but were unable to change the score. Undoubtedly suffering from the absences of Stam and Cesar (injured), Lazio nevertheless put on an impressive performance, and will be pinning their hopes on the clash with Inter to regain the vital fourth place.
19 April: Lazio 4 - Ancona 2
The final scoreline was the only convincing aspect of Lazio's home game against already-relegated Ancona yesterday. Mindful of this week's games against Roma and Inter, Mancini started without Fiore, Giannichedda, Corradi, Cesar (injured) and Mihajlovic (suspended). With forwards who never score, and disappointing performances in midfield from the likes of Liverani and Albertini, Lazio gave the visitors ample space, and Ancona carved straight through Lazio's defence and midfield to take an early lead. Almost immediately defender Fernando Couto made up for the error with a neat headed goal to make the score 1-1. But Lazio continued to struggle, with a performance that saw
their fans shaking at the prospect of Wednesday's derby. Inzaghi, to crown a dismal afternoon, even sent a penalty (which Albertini was supposed to take) straight into the goalie's arms. After half-time, Mancini brought on Fiore and Corradi, and his team began to show sides of improvement. However, it was Ancona who scored to take the lead once again. The game was a long-drawn-out battle, and it was - yet again - Lazio's defence and midfield to score the crucial goals. Fiore made it 2-2, and then Couto (celebrating with his trademark acrobatics) scored his second goal of the afternoon. To make things more secure, Zauri gave Lazio a fourth goal, and a relieved but embarrassed squad ended the afternoon with the crucial three points that keep them in the race for fourth place.
14 April: Juventus 1 - Lazio 0; Derby date
An unlucky defeat for Lazio and another goal wrongly disallowed have lost Lazio the fourth place position. However, the postponed derby has finally been scheduled. The game will be played on Wednesday 21 April at 6pm. Tickets are on sale tomorrow for season-ticket holders, and Monday for the public.
5 April: Lazio 5 - Siena 2
After beating Perugia 2-1 away last week (goals from Fiore and from Giannichedda, scoring his first goal for Lazio), Lazio returned to the Stadio Olimpico yesterday to win a dramatic and nerve-wracking game against Siena. After the 3-0 defeat of the away game, Lazio had a point to prove yesterday, and did it in style with a 5-2 scoreline.
Once again Lazio scored an early goal (Cesar),only to give away the advantage. After Siena equalised, the visitors began to dominate the game, causing Lazio considerable difficulty. When they scored again to take the lead, things were looking bad for the home side. However, this time Lazio didn't give up, and an equaliser from Fiore put heart back into the team. As half-time approached, a Mihajlovic free-kick led to a second goal for Cesar. Over the second half, Lazio kept control of the game, and added to their goals with Cesar completing his hat-trick, and Siena-born Corradi scoring against his home side.
Meanwhile the punishments for the derby-chaos have been partially determined: two match stadium ban for Roma, a hefty fine for Lazio. The derby was rescheduled and then de-scheduled again at the demand of the city authorities. It is still be be replayed at a date to be determined, open to the public subject to fans' behaviour over the next few weeks. Tickets to the abandoned game won't be valid, although Lazio announced special cheap prices.
26 March: Bologna 2 - Lazio 1
Lazio were disappointed with an unmerited defeat against Bologna last night, in the first of their postponed Serie A games. Despite having nearly all the possession and besieging Bologna's goal, the team came away without any points - not helped by yet more errors from the officials. With the club's financial future on a knife-edge, the news that the Italian government has dropped plans to assist needy football clubs comes as another blow (as well as adding another element to the controversy surrounding the derby fiasco, now seen also as a reason/excuse for the politicians' decision).
24 March: No decisions over derby
The Italian football world is still in turmoil over the events of Sunday night. An official enquiry is underway, and the football authorities have announced that they will not make any decisions until this enquiry is complete. Four Roma fans, those who entered the pitch to insist on the game's abandonment, have been arrested and are being questioned. The police, Rome authorities, the Government, the fanbases and the Football League have all been trading accusations and criticisms. The Government proposals to provide financial support for ailing football clubs have also been put temporarily on hold. With regard to the Lazio-Roma game itself, there is talk of a match behind closed doors, although nothing is likely to be decided until next week.
Meanwhile Lazio are departing this afternoon for Bologna, where tomorrow they will play their other postponed game.
22 March: Derby confusion
No new date or details have been announced for the abandoned derby yet, although the game should be rescheduled. Football League chairman Galliani took the final decision to end the game, and has said that the match will therefore be played at some point.
What appears to have happened is that, from the Curva Sud, rumours began to circulate that the police had either run over a child or killed a fan with tear gas (denied at the time, and later proved untrue). At half-time there were comings and goings between the two Curve, and both ends of the stadium removed all their banners. There were chants of 'Assassini' and the fans began calling for the players to abandon the game. As the second half began,
these calls grew insistent and the pitch was bombarded with missiles and flares. When the referee called a temporary halt, several Roma fans ran onto the pitch, and apparently they - and their Lazio counterparts - threatened a mass pitch invasion if the play continued. There was a long period of debate between players, managers and officials, an abortive attempt to re-start the game, and then Galliani settled matters with a phone call. The police then tried to enforce an orderly evacuation of the stadium, but running battles outside - between police and ultras - meant many were trapped inside for some time.
This fighting, involving missiles, arson and tear gas, continued for an hour or more. Fortunately there were no serious hospitalisations, although over 150 police officers were injured, as well as a number of tifosi.
With both clubs in dire financial straits and with busy schedules, the logistics of a re-match are likely to be difficult, although most seem confident it will go ahead, somehow. All involved have expressed shock and disappointment that a match could be stopped solely by small sectors of the crowd, and that thousands of fans - many of whom had brought their families - were exposed to danger and discomfort as well as disappointment.
A serious inquiry is underway to discover what really happened. Some officials have talked of a pre-match agreement between 'certain elements' of both sets of fans to have the game called off, pointing to 'strange behaviour' and evidence of collusion between the Curva Sud and the Curva Nord. See the pictures.
21 March 2004: Rome derby abandoned
After a goalless first half the derby was abandoned tonight amid scenes of public disorder. Tear-gas and running battles surrounded the stadium as fans tried to leave; it is still highly unclear how the situation - apparently founded on false reports of a child being run over and killed by police - escalated. More news tomorrow.
18 March 2004: Lazio 2 - Juventus 0 (Coppa Italia final, first leg)
Lazio won the first leg of the Coppa Italia final last night, sending the Stadio Olimpico wild with joy. A frustrating and goalless first half saw Juventus with the upper hand, as Lazio - with Muzzi and Corradi in attack - failed to make any real chances, until a goal by Corradi was disallowed by referee Collina.
However, Mancini's players returned to the pitch for the second half with fresh determination, and with Simone Inzaghi in place of Muzzi. A foul by Juventus goalie Chimenti saw Lazio awarded a penalty, which Cesar sent harmlessly to Chimenti. Lazio continued attacking and in the fourteenth minute of the second half, Stefano Fiore beat Chimenti to score Lazio's first goal. There followed a series of dangerous attacks and near misses, but it wasn't until twenty minutes later that the midfielder made it 2-0. The closing stages of the game saw Juventus defender Tudor sent off and more Lazio dominance, but no more goals.
The Cup isn't won yet, but Lazio go into the second leg (12th May) with a good advantage. And the team can greet Sunday evening's derby with renewed confidence.
15 March 2004: Lazio 2 - Udinese 2
Yesterday Lazio took an early 2-0 lead with goals from Inzaghi and Muzzi, both given an unusual place in Mancini's starting line-up. But former Lazio player Lucas Castroman got a goal back for Udinese just minutes after.
As if to mock Lazio's legitimate concern over refereeing errors, the referee selected for the game was the club's most hated official: Trefoloni. After ignoring a penalty-foul on Inzaghi, Trefoloni earned more of Lazio's wrath in injury time. An incorrectly-taken free-kick by Udinese resulted in a late equaliser for the visitors. Lazio's failure to
capitalise on their early double-strike is preoccupying for fans, coming as it does three days before the first leg of the Coppa Italia final and a week before the dreaded derby. Mancini put the blame in part on the team's enforced 15-day break (due to the postponement of last week's game in snowy Bologna). With five matches in a fortnight - including the rescheduled Bologna game - the problem now is more likely to be exhaustion.
1 March 2004: Lazio 0 - Milan 1
In yesterday's evening game at the Stadio Olimpico Lazio deserved at least a draw, but ended up with an unlucky defeat at the hands of Serie A leaders Milan. The match could be summed up the awarding of corners - fifteen to Lazio, two to Milan. Lazio attacked constantly but were always frustrated by near misses, saves, or missed chances in front of goal. In contrast, Milan managed to score (an Ambrosini header) with one of their only shots on goal. Thanks to results elsewhere in Serie A, Lazio nevertheless retain fourth place, while Milan are still 5 points clear at the top.
24 February 2004: Lazio complain at refereeing errors; Chievo 0 - Lazio 0
After having yet another valid goal disallowed (the season's fourth or fifth) in Verona on Sunday, Lazio have made an official complaint at this season's accumulation of refereeing errors. With goals disallowed in crucial matches such as Milan - Lazio and Sunday's Chievo - Lazio, it's estimated that errors or machinations have cost Lazio between 5 and 10 points - vital for Champions League qualification and thus for the club's financial survival. On a brighter note, ticketing arrangements have been announced for the first leg of the Coppa Italia final (17 March, 9pm). Prices are low, with reductions for women and children. After a season-ticket only sales (26 Feb - 7 Mar) tickets go on sale to the public on 10 March.
15 February 2004: Lazio 3 - Empoli 0
Lazio gave their fans a Valentine's treat yesterday beating Empoli 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico. Continuing a spectacular series of results, Lazio sunk the visitors with goals from three defenders: Couto, Zauri and Stam. The game was controlled comfortably by the home side, who now have their sights even more firmly fixed on fourth place (crucial for Champions League qualification).
12 Febrary 2004: Lazio 4 - Milan 0 (Coppa Italia semi-final, second leg)
In a glorious evening for a reborn squad Lazio destroyed Serie A leaders AC Milan last night and qualified for the final of the Coppa Italia. After last week's win in the first leg, and the weekend's victory in Serie A (Parma 0 - Lazio 3) spirits were high, and Mancini's
team were on superb form. By the end of the first half the scoreline was Lazio 4 - Milan 0, the crowd were delirious and qualification was assured. Cesar scored Lazio's first goal twelve minutes into the game, followed three minutes later by an incandescent Fabio Liverani. The score-line was completed by a super double by Stefano Fiore, who has been revelling in his ideal central role since the departure of Stankovic.
Milan struggled on in the second half, but they weren't helped by Brocchi's sending-off for insulting ref Collina. However, whether with ten or eleven men, Milan never succeeded in looking dangerous against a team playing at the very top of their form.
Photo Special - Diary.
5 January 2004: Milan 1 - Lazio 2 (Coppa Italia semi-final, first leg)
Lazio won a historic victory tonight, beating AC Milan at the San Siro for the first time in over 14 years. Stefano Fiore stunned the stadium with a goal after 42 seconds - he poached the ball from Christian Abbiati's feet after a backpass and neatly gave Lazio the lead.
Later during the first half Fernando Couto was on-hand to slot in the second. Pippo Inzaghi scored a goal for Milan which appeared to be offside. Other debatable incidents arose during the second half - a handball from each team, several disputed fouls, bookings of Couto and Giannichedda which will lead to them missing the second leg. But most importantly for Lazio, there were
no more goals scored, and the Rome team can return to their troubled Serie A progress with a touch more optimism and pride.
2 February 2004: Lazio 1 - Sampdoria 1
The news that Dejan Stankovic had finally departed for Inter came as less of a blow to Lazio fans than this disappointing draw at the Stadio Olimpico.
After taking the lead in the first half with a Stefano Fiore goal, Lazio played an uninspired game. Sampdoria were the more determined side and equalised in the second half with a goal
by Bazzani. Despite a late flurry of activity by Lazio (and the return to action of Simone Inzaghi as well as Cesar), Lazio came no nearer than the post before the final whistle blew.The club are now in joint 5th position in Serie A with Parma, who are next week's opponents.
Important ticket-buying news: The club's online ticket office is back in action (see under 'Info' on the official website). Tickets are currently on sale for the home leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final against Milan.
14 January 2004: Lazio 2 - Parma 0 (Coppa Italia quarter-final, first leg)
After two defeats in a row, Lazio answered their critics with a comfortable win over Parma this evening. Liverani in particular shone, in a game that was low on excitement but saw lots of Lazio possession. Roberto Muzzi headed in Lazio's first goal during the first half, before an injury to Parma goalkeeper Sicignano interrupted the game. After a collision with Corradi the 'keeper remained unconscious and was rushed to hospital (where he was reported to be fine), with Sebastien Frey taking his place between
the posts. Nevertheless, Lazio increased their lead in the second half when Stankovic, after several mistakes, received an excellent ball from Corradi and beat Frey to drive home Lazio's second. The return leg is next Tuesday.
11 January 2004: Lazio 0 - Brescia 1
Welcome back, and a happy New Year to readers. 2004 hasn't started well for Lazio, who were defeated away by Reggina last week and proceeded to
lose an easy home tie against Roberto Baggio's Brescia this afternoon. Mancini's choices were as usual limited by injury and suspension. The team he fielded included the barely-recovered Claudio Lopez, off-form defenders Couto and Mijailovic, and Stankovic, still unpopular with the fans and
unconfirmed for the rest of the season. Almost the entire team played poorly and unconvincingly - the only real exceptions were Giannichedda, Liverani and Stam (who moved into attack in the final minutes). Despite having eighty minutes to counter Di Biagio's early goal, all Lazio managed was to infuriate their fans. With a Coppa Italia game against Parma (beleaguered but winning) on Wednesday and a crucial shareholders meeting next Saturday, times are precarious for Mancini and his team.
22 December: Lazio 2 - Inter 1
A happy Christmas for Lazio fans, after last night's victory over Inter at the Stadio Olimpico moves Lazio into fourth place in Serie A (level with Inter).
Despite Mancini's attacking formation (with Muzzi, Corradi, Fiore, Liverani and Stankovic), Inter took the lead 30 minutes into the first half, with Christian Vieri taking advantage of errors by Favalli and Sereni. After an initial collapse, Lazio
pulled themselves together and the much-whistled Stankovic vindicated past errors with an assist for Corradi, whose goal took the score to 1-1. Played under heavy rain, the game was marked more by nerves than by style; the deciding moment came midway into the second half, when Lazio ex Almeyda was sent off, leaving Inter down to ten men. Almeyda's behaviour left team mates and fans (past and present) openmouthed - having been booked for fouling
Corradi, Almeyda then chased the Lazio player to attack him, ripped the red card out of the referee's hand, and then went for Corradi again. From then on Lazio sought to capitalise on their advantage. Mancini's choice to bring on Delgado and Zauri proved decisive, the former helping to set up the winning goal scored by the latter.
Tense financial talks at the club continue, with the transfer market about to reopen, but the current run of victories adds a happier note to the festive season.
17 December: Lazio 1 - Modena 0 (Coppa Italia)
This afternoon Lazio sealed their Coppa Italia quarter-final qualification with a victory over Modena in a nearly-empty Stadio Olimpico (an excellent first-half goal by the on-form Fabio Liverani). Lazio held a 2 - 0 lead from the first leg, so
today Mancini played a defensive-minded formation, with the young Delgado alone in attack. Another youngster from the Primavera (second) team, Corsi, was given his debut in the second-half. The quarter-finals are to be played on January 14th and 21st; Lazio will face Parma.
16 December: Ancona 0 - Lazio 1
Lazio achieved another welcome Serie A victory on Sunday, which helped squad and fans put their Champions League exit behind them. An excellent goal by Fabio Liverani
beat Ancona and gave Lazio an important three points.
Tomorrow Lazio face Modena in the second leg of a Coppa Italia tie - with a two goal advantage from the away leg. The game at the Stadio Olimpico kicks off at 4pm, with bargain-priced tickets. Attention, however, is already on Sunday evening's big game: Lazio - Inter. In a protest about the treatment of
various fans, banned from matches and still awaiting justice, the Curva Nord is boycotting the first five minutes of the game. Lazio fans are 'twinned' with Inter fans, who have agreed to respect this boycott by themselves refraining from cheering for the first five minutes. The consequence is likely to be a strange beginning for a match
which would normally see vociferous support and amicable 'choreography' in the stands.
10 December: Sparta Prague 1 - Lazio 0
Lazio crashed out of Europe yesterday despite putting on a brave show in sub-zero Prague. Several chances were missed, and the match aftermath was marred by reports of disagreements between Mancini and striker Inzaghi, who was only brought on for the closing minutes of the game.
7 December: Lazio 2 - Juventus 0
Only a week after being thrashed by Siena, Lazio returned to form with a resounding 2-0 defeat of Juventus. Lazio played an attractive and creative game in the scintillating first half, with their efforts crowned by merited goals from Corradi (a neat header from a superb Fiore pass) and then Fiore (a powerful shot from a Corradi pass). Fiore in particular
played an outstanding game, although most of the Lazio players coped well with the formation changes forced by absence and injury. With Stankovic suspended, injury further depleted Lazio's ranks. First Muzzi, then Lopez had to be replaced. Then in the second half Lazio lost Mihajlovic. Giannichedda went down injured, but had to return to the pitch limping.
In the second half Mancini's decision (affected by players available) was to defend the advantage. Juventus returned to the pitch more aggressive, but Lazio held their ground with some suffering. 'Eleven lions', Mancini asked for in a pre-match press conference. He and the fans
should be satisfied. All eyes now are on the vital Champions League game in Prague on Tuesday.
3 December 2003: Modena 0 - Lazio 2 (Coppa Italia, first leg)
Lazio managed a welcome win away from home this evening, in the first leg of their Coppa Italia tie with Modena. With two big matches coming up in the next 6 days (Juventus and Sparta Prague), and several injuries and suspensions to cope with, Mancini did not make radical changes to
last Saturday's unsuccessful line-up. However, the players repaid his confidence and produced a fairly confident performance. Simone Inzaghi scored the first goal, just before half time, and Roberto Muzzi slotted in an Inzaghi pass for his second goal at Lazio.
An encouraging note from the last two matches is Mancini's use of teenage substitute Delgado, promoted from the second team. The youngster provides a breath of freshness to what was the oldest squad in Serie A (average age 29). Claudio Lopez returned to the pitch today, playing a midfield role, and despite a missed chance, his return provides another ray of light for Lazio.
Meanwhile, Dejan Stankovic has been suspended for four Serie A matches after his protests during the Siena game - unprecedented for such an offence. Lazio are to appeal this sentence, which, like Mihajlovic's 8-game ban in the Champions League, seems unreasonably harsh.
1 December 2003: Siena 3 - Lazio 0, Stankovic says sorry
After Saturday's demolition of a dismal Lazio by Siena, talk of crisis once again hangs around the Lazio camp. Stankovic, acting captain for the match, was sent off in a dispute with a linesman over an ignored Siena handball. Later the player excused himself to fans, admitting that 'We're not enjoying ourselves any more.. we have to rediscover the spirit of last season' and promising 'We won't give up.'
27 November 2003: Lazio - Juventus tickets
Tickets for Lazio - Juventus (20:30 kick-off, 6th December) are going on sale at Lottomatica outlets in Rome tomorrow morning. Unluckily for overseas fans, online ticket sales are still suspended.
26 November 2003: Lazio 1 - Besiktas 1 (Champions League)
At the very end of a poor first half, Lazio conceded a penalty to visitors Besiktas. Stam's tackle was on the line; referee Merk pointed to the spot and seconds later Besiktas were in the lead. Despite flashes of style from Conceicao and Albertini, Lazio had not looked convincing in the first half; Roberto Mancini was at home with flu and must have been suffering doubly in front of the television. Substitutes Fiore, Zauri and Muzzi livened up the second half, which saw a more dominant Lazio and a revitalised Stankovic. After a bombardment of the Besiktas goal, Muzzi scored with a superb
overhead kick. It looked as though Lazio might manage the win they desperately needed, but chance after chance was missed in front of goal. After some Besiktas timewasting which almost equalled that of Perugia, the referee allowed a meagre three minutes of extra time, and the game finished in a frustrating draw.
23 November 2003: Lazio 3 - Perugia 1
The most dramatic Serie A game of the weekend saw Lazio beat Perugia in a stormy game at the Stadio Olimpico. Referee Bolognino was unable to control the situation as disputes over Perugia's timewasting and fouls involved all the players and officials. Four players were sent off, as well as two Perugia officials.
Despite a poor showing, Lazio took the lead with a goal by Stankovic at the end of the first half. Perugia equalised shortly into the second half, but on the thirtieth minute (after the justified sending-off of Diamoutene) the repeated timewasting of Perugia players became too much for Lazio. Another Perugia player went down; Lazio resented stopping the game again, and the disagreement escalated. Bolognino had made many doubtful decisions during the game, and
he proved unable to control the players' tempers. He sent off a player from each team (Conceicao and Ignoffo), but the trouble wasn't over there. Corradi scored a super goal to give Lazio the lead, but not long after, there were more brawls, this time involving the Perugia bench. Manager Cosmi and the Perugia president's son Gaucci were sent off (Cosmi shouting 'Forza Roma'), Roberto Mancini dived into the fray to haul out his players and restore order. Neat play by Corradi and Inzaghi set the score to 3-1, but it was the
fiery atmosphere which made the headlines.
11 November 2003: Roma 2 - Lazio 0
A nightmare week for Lazio continued on Sunday as a combination of bad luck and tiredness cost them the prestigious Rome derby. Crippled by injuries (including, at short notice, Fiore and Mihailovic), Lazio played a fairly defensive
game, with a lot of midfield possession. Flashes of brilliance from Roma's expensive players were contained for most of the match, and a 0-0 draw seemed to be on the cards. But Lazio flagged noticeably as the second half drew to a close. Eight minutes from the final whistle, a backheel stroke of genius from Roma's Mancini (no relation) from a free kick sent the home crowd wild and the Lazio fans into despair. The players seemed to
share this gloom, and barely struggled to prevent Roma's cruel second goal.
Lazio will hope that the break afforded by Italy's national games (Lazio players called up: Corradi and Oddo) will give the injured players time to recuperate and the more cerebral injuries to heal.
5 November 2003: Lazio 0 - Chelsea 4
Lazio were brought to their knees in the Stadio Olimpico last night by a strong performance from Chelsea. Deprived of Peruzzi, Stam, Oddo and Cesar (injury and suspension), the team's weakness in front of goal proved crucial. After
former Lazio man Crespo capitalised on an error by goalkeeper Sereni to put Chelsea ahead, the home team reacted well. However, several chances were missed in front of goal, and then defender Mihailovic was sent off at the beginning of the second half (having already caused a storm of controversy by spitting as part of an ongoing confrontation with Mutu). A 10-man Lazio
could not match the stamina of Veron and colleagues; more errors and an eventual slackening of control saw the visitors put three more goals past the hapless Sereni.
Lazio are now attempting to focus on Sunday night's Rome derby; Roma are two points ahead of Lazio in Serie A (and two points off first place), so the outcome has added significance.
1 November 2003: Udinese 1 - Lazio 2
Today Lazio earned three important points in Udine, thanks to a strong performance and goals by Simone Inzaghi and Bernardo Corradi. Lazio took the lead in the first half, with a Corradi goal. Iaquinta equalised for Udinese, but Inzaghi came to Lazio's rescue with an opportunistic strike. The victory means that Lazio
are in sight of the top of the Serie A table, with 16 points.
26 October 2003: Lazio 2 - Bologna 1
It's been a mixed time for Lazio. Last Sunday's away defeat against Milan (when a first-half Lazio goal was wrongly disallowed by a subsequently suspended Milan-supporting linesman) was followed by a plucky but losing display at Chelsea when Lazio failed to hold on to a 1-0 lead. Today
the game remained fixed at 0-0 despite constant pressure from an improved Lazio, stout in defence and creative in midfield. It was not until the closing minutes, though, that Lazio's effort paid off. Super-sub Simone Inzaghi shook off a few embarrassing fumbles to give Lazio the lead. This was promptly followed
by an own goal by the unfortunate Dabo. The fans' ecstasy faded away, but Lazio continued to fight and Corradi returned to goalscoring form with a couple of minutes to spare, heading home a fine cross from Claudio Lopez.
5 October 2003: Lazio 1 - Chievo 0
This afternoon Lazio achieved a welcome victory over hard-to-beat Chievo Verona. Mancini selected Muzzi and Lopez to play in attack and the first half saw an unconvincing performance from the home side, under threat from the efficient pace of Chievo. After half-time Lazio came back onto the pitch with more determination, and
with Simone Inzaghi. The team played harder and faster, and were rewarded when a Mihailovic free-kick was deflected into goal by Chievo's D'Anna. Despite gaining a one-man advantage when Liverani was sent off by Collina in the closing minutes, the visitors could not find an equaliser, and Lazio were left to celebrate a welcome three points.
For the view from the terraces and photos of 'Maglia Day' see the Football in Rome Diary.
2 October 2003: Lazio 2 - Sparta Prague 2 (Champions League)
Last night Lazio were brought to their knees by the Czech visitors. The first half saw a dismal display by an uncoordinated Lazio, and finished 2-0 to Sparta Prague (with goals by Sionko and Lazio ex Poborsky). The Czechs threatened throughout the 45 minutes and
the chances earned by Lazio's hardest working players, like Fiore and Stam, were wasted by their teammates. But Mancini's half-time words to his team and lineup changes (Liverani came on for Albertini) worked wonders. Seconds after returning to the pitch, Simone Inzaghi made up for first-half misses by scoring to put Lazio back in the game. The same forward (who Mancini had teamed with Corradi in attack) continued his
excellent European goalscoring record by driving home a penalty to equalise for Lazio. The struggled-for victory did not materialise, but consolation came with news of Chelsea's defeat, leaving Lazio in top place in the group.
30 September 2003: Empoli 2 - Lazio 2
In Sunday night's match at Empoli, Lazio again disappointed. After holding on to a one-goal lead (Stankovic) in difficult conditions, Lazio then proceeded to let in two goals in the space of four minutes. A rally in the closing minutes saw a welcome equaliser from Fiore, but the team and fans were disappointed to come away with only one point. Lazio now have seven points compared with the leaders' ten.
23 September 2003: Lazio 2 - Parma 3
Lazio's fortunes varied over the last week, as an away victory against Besiktas in the Champions League was followed by a home defeat at the hands of Parma. At the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, Lazio gave a relatively unconvincing performance, not helped by the replacement of the injured Peruzzi
with substitute goalkeeper Sereni. Bresciano gave the visitors the lead in the game's opening seconds. The indefatigable Stam equalised from a fine free kick, only to see Parma take the lead once more with a goal by Adriano. Lazio substitute Simone Inzaghi performed his familiar trick of coming on and scoring, but a final goal from Bresciano in the closing minutes denied Lazio
even a single point.
16th September 2003
The free maglia unica is today beginning distribution to eager season-ticket holders. The match against Chievo on October 5th has been announced as 'Maglia Day', a day honouring the Lazio jersey, with
every fan attending the game asked to wear a Lazio shirt. (Note: we have finally begun updating the Diary).
Meanwhile the Lazio squad are in Turkey preparing to take on Besiktas this evening, in the first phase proper of the Champions League.
Welcome back, and apologies for Football in Rome's late return from the summer break.
After all the transfer talk there are relatively few major changes to the Lazio squad this season. Among the new arrivals is Italy and Milan stalwart, Demetrio Albertini, who celebrated his arrival with a goal in his first Serie A match for Lazio. There's still talk of departures at Christmas (Stankovich among the most discussed), but for the
moment we can sit tight and think about the football. A 4-1 victory over Lecce was a great start to the season. A record number of season tickets have been sold thanks to the initiatives of our popular new management team (€90 season tickets for women and children) and hopes are high.