16 October 2006

Lazio 0-0 Cagliari: hey arbitro!


Lazio had a bitter ending to a very strange game and left the Olimpico with one point after a scoreless draw with Cagliari on Sunday evening. The score continued one streak and ended another: it was Lazio's fourth consecutive clean sheet, but was also the first time that the biancocelesti failed to score a goal since their 0-0 draw with Milan at the Olimpico last February.

After a dull first few minutes, Lazio began to put on the attack and look strong early. Rocchi went down in the area in the 10th minute and earned the penalty shot. Rossi sent Oddo to the spot to put home one of his trademark penalty shots...but another streak was about to be broken. Despite the fact that the Cagliari keeper Chimenti guessed to his right early, Oddo still put a low ball in that direction, and the attempt was blocked. It ended Massimo's streak of 14 consecutive PKs made in competitive matches (both for Lazio and for the azzurri).

Lazio came off of the missed penalty a bit downtrodden and did not look very solid for the next 25 minutes or so. The attack began to pick up steam again around the 40th minute, and Lazio got some corner kick and free kick chances. One minute of stoppage was added and just at the 45 minute mark, Lazio was charging again and earned a free kick in a good position outside the box. But the Cagliari players crowded around the ball and stalled the attempt. Before the 46 minute mark arrived, the referee blew the whistle for half time! Lazio was rightly furious, but their protestations were for naught.

In the second half, Cagliari decided to hunker down and fight to maintain the draw and earn 1 point. For almost the entire 45 minutes they kept at least eight men in the defensive zone and were able to stifle Lazio's attacks. Even when Lazio could move upfield, the best they could achieve would be something like a 6 on 8 attack, unless they earned a foul or corner and were able to bring more men forward on the set piece.

It appeared that the match would end quitely as a dull 0-0 draw, but in the 90th minute Cagliari sub Joe Bizera was given a straight red card out of nowhere for a foul on Zauri. Upon further review, it looked like Bizera actually got a touch on the ball and that the call shouldn't have merited even a whistle, much less a yellow or red! At that point, all control over the match was lost. The entire Cagliari squad swarmed the official to express their rightful anger, and Daniele Conti also saw immediate red for what were obviously some choice words.

Lazio earned an opportunity to perhaps find a quick winning goal, suddenly two man ahead, but the free kick they earned from the non-foul didn't yield a good play and the ball was cleared. Massimo Oddo chased after and was fouled fairly obviously, but there was no whistle! Oddo yelled from the turf and then got up to confront the linesman, who was closest to the incident. He too must have said some very harsh words, because as the play continued downfield the whistle was blown on him. After a conference between the linesman and the head official, Oddo too saw red. The Olimpico erupted in whistles and boos. (The crowd had already booed the previous cards, as they realized that they were overly harsh, and of course was even more upset against the call against the home side.) The match wasn't complete without another yellow dealt to Lazio, for a week foul. The match ended with both sides accosting the referee as he headed for the tunnel after 5 minutes of stoppage time. A bitter end left Lazio 2 points shy of their expectations and down their star captain for next week's match with Catania.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey there! lazio fan from the University of Miami here. i was just wondering if you knew what the banner held by fans means? my email is

malexan2@umsis.miami.edu

if you don't know don't worry about it. thanks for the site!
-martin

Ed said...

The Irriducibili were protesting the arrests of some of their leaders. That's why the IRR banner is upside down. The sign under it translates "Guilty of loving Lazio"