24 October 2006

Catania - Lazio: the gory details

I sat down today and watched Catania - Lazio. Here's a point-by-point breakdown of what went wrong. The links will take you to video clips of the goals.

Catania 0-0 Lazio (32')
Grande Peruzzi! He comes off his line and clears away a point blank header that was going in otherwise. The rebound was risky, but able to be cleared by the defense.

Catania 1-0 Lazio (36')
Peruzzi had no chance at this one. It is hard to lay blame anywhere, but I would point at the center defense of Lazio. Catania made a perfect cross, but the back four shouldn't allow those kind of balls to find the heads of attackers. When they are allowed to go through unchecked, this is what happens: the goalie is flatfooted and the ball is in the back of the net.

Catania 2-0 Lazio (45')
Everyone knew that Massimo Oddo's disqualification would haunt Lazio sooner or later. This was the play when it happened. Belleri seems unaware of the position of his mark, and when the cross is made he is simply beat off of the line. Peruzzi shouldn't have to defend shots like this either. Oddo probably would have had a better handle on this situation and prevented a goal.

Catania 3-0 Lazio (50')
An unfortunate bounce for Lazio. Peruzzi bit on the first shot attempt (as he had to, since he couldn't presume it would be blocked). The rebound came directly to Colucci who had an empty net in front of him. The English commentators noted that a younger goaltender might have made a play on the second ball and that Peruzzi's age kept him on the ground. I don't think that's true, considering how nimble we've seen him be in other occasions.

Catania 3-1 Lazio (56')
Really, Lazio didn't even earn this goal. They weren't putting much pressure on and the ball was played back by Catania's defense right onto Rocchi's foot. Fortunate, but not skillful.

Catania 3-2 Lazio?? Nope.
Massimo Mutarelli controlled a pass inside the box with a wide open look at the net, but called himself offsides despite the fact that the flag didn't go up. If he had taken the shot, the last ten minutes of the match could have been very different. His hesitation allowed Catania's defense to regroup and stop the chance.

Overall, Lazio suffered from the same things that have plagued them all season. The midfield looks very weak. Any time the ball was between the boxes it was in Catania's possession or Lazio was in the defensive half of the field and struggling to avoid a turnover. Lazio's only forward movement through the midfield was through long balls, which did nothing to set up Rocchi and even less for Pandev. The defense was solid for 30 minutes, but under such constant pressure it was only a matter of time before they caved. The final result was indicative of their overall play.

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