18 September 2006

Lazio 1-2 Palermo: counterattacked

Sorry for the overly long hiatus from posting. I think everyone involved is still recovering from the shock of the Michigan - Notre Dame football game (which I attended this weekend). If you want overly indepth and heavily biased coverage of that event, I recommend checking out mgoblog.

Turning to other matters of the weekend, Lazio remains at -11 points after losing their home opener at the Olimpico to Palermo. I've been so busy that I still have only seen the first half of the match, but it was painful on several levels. First, the FSC commentator was horrible. He committed the two major sins of soccer broadcasting: confusing the teams and butchering the players' names. Apparently he didn't even have the rudimentary Italian pronunciation lesson to let him know that Tommaso Rocchi is not pronounced Roach-y (yes, as if he were infested with vermin) and that Angelo Peruzzi is not pronounced An-hello (as if he were Spanish) and that Daniele Di Michele is not pronounced Mee-shay-lee (as if vowels in Romance languages change their quality all the time). Rant over, now how about how the team performed or, as the case was, failed to do so.

Delio Rossi started a pretty straightforward first-team lineup, with the only noticeable changes being the lack of Foggia on the right wing and Stendardo instead of Cribari (who looked so tired against Milan) at center back.

Rocchi, Pandev

Despite the fact that Foggia was missing in the midfield, Lazio was able to gain the control of possession that it could not achieve at San Siro the week before. Chances were numerous, and Lazio had several more corners than Palermo in the first half. Two factors killed Lazio in this match: the inability to convert easy chances, such as an open Manfredini header off of a corner kick that didn't even fly on target; and susceptability to a strong Palermo counterattack. Palermo found itself running 2-on-2 twice against Lazio and both were converted with chips over Peruzzi's head. While the back line as a whole needs to be more aware, and Siviglia and Stendardo as center backs particularly need to be able to thwart those chances, I actually am willing to lay blame on Peruzzi for these two goals. Both times he was out in no man's land, making Di Michele's lobs easy scores. Angelo is a better keeper than that, and if he had been on his line he would have forced a shot that he probably could have parried.

Lazio continued to generate chances in the second half, eventually leading to Rocchi's goal in the 73rd minute, but it was not enough. Goran Pandev may as well have not been on the pitch during the first half—I don't think I heard his name uttered once, nor did I see a memorable cross to or from him. If I were Delio Rossi, I would sit Pandev and Peruzzi for a game, but Rossi seems to have more faith in his players than that:
Ho detto ai ragazzi ciò che pensavo ovvero che abbiamo fatto degli errori, ma la squadra ha creato azioni in qualità industriale. Con un pizzico di fortuna potevamo pareggiare. I fischi? Perdere non piace a nessuno e la gente non può essere contenta, ma io non posso rimproverare nulla ai ragazzi.
"I have told the players this: that I really thought that we made some mistakes, but the team created plays in high quality. With a tiny bit of luck we could have tied them. The booing? Nobody likes losing and the fans cannot be happy, but I am not able to reproach the players at all." He appears confident that the team will succeed without adjustments. Another loss in Verona tomorrow night would definitely change his mind.

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