03 October 2006

Torino 0-4 Lazio: the attack awakened

If you missed the first half of Saturday's match between Lazio and Torino, don't worry. You didn't miss anything. If you missed the second half, you missed the most impressive scoring blitz that Lazio has put on in recent memory.

The first half does merit some comment. Lazio's play looked like it did in the past few games. The defense didn't cave but the offense was unable to generate any good chances. Long passes ahead were invariably off target or the play was offside (Rocchi, in typical form, had the flag raised on him five times). On the defensive end, the back four kept containment but weren't looking great. They were lucky that most of Torino's shots sailed well wide, but most times that Lazio challenged for possession they played the ball over the back line, giving Torino a 5 to 2 edge on corners in the first half.

Coming out for the second half, it looked like the game could go scoreless for another 45 minutes, or that one side might be able to just crack the other's defense and pull off a 1-0 victory. Lazio did just that when Pandev was able to fight for the ball in the box and prolong the scoring chance, sending the ball out to Mudingayi who made a perfect feed to Rocchi. Tommaso blasted away at point-blank range and Abbiati's save attempt was in vain as the ball trickled into the corner of the goal.

That could have been the end of the scoring, but Lazio kept pouring on the attack. Stendardo got a head on a nice cross and put it off the bar. Rocchi was able to catch his man off guard and get tripped up inside the box. Oddo converted the PK perfectly for 0-2. (The FSC commentator said that Oddo has converted 19 of his last 21 PKs, which I haven't confirmed, but sounds right. He does not miss those.) Lazio kept pressing, and Oddo managed to take an outside shot that got a lucky deflection for 0-3. Mauri put the icing on the cake with a putback off of Abbiati's save from a great angle shot by Rocchi. Simple descriptions don't really do the intensity of the Lazio attack justice, so here are the video highlights:

All in all the match bodes well for Lazio's offense, which was struggling and has suffered the further blow of the injury to Makinwa. The defense held tough, recording its third consecutive(!) clean sheet.

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