Serie A Match Of The Week: Inter lose to Lazio, drop far behind Juve at the top
With Juventus running around crushing almost everybody in sight, it is becoming very important for teams like Inter, Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina and the left-far-behind AC Milan to win every match they can, to find a way to the first spot. A positive outcome in the Inter-Lazio clash was an important one for Inter to make up ground/keep track of the leading team while for Lazio, it was a golden opportunity to catch up on the top three. Lazio took the opportunity in a lacklustre fashion and seemed second to a similarly drab Inter for almost the whole of the game before opening the goal account in the 82nd minute. So hard was it for both the teams to get a goal that Miroslav Klose had to get injured in the process of winning the match for Lazio.
The defeat cost Inter dearly as they now sit 7 points behind Juventus who won their match against Atlanta quite easily the next day. Lazio on the other hand, now sit on 4th with just one point now separating them from the 2nd placed Inter. The competition for 2nd spot has certainly caught fire with 4 teams separated by only 3 points. It would be a matter of consistency now for the top teams as they move towards the post-Christmas period of the season.
The match was rather unconvincing in its entertainment value and attacking quality, especially in the first half, as both teams struggled to get the ball past their own midfield and into the attacking third. Inter strike partners Cassano and Milito had little to do upfront as they failed at getting involved in the play in any unforgettable manner. Coutinho and Sneijder were conspicuous by their absence and Inter would have enjoyed their talent going forward. Individual performances from Lazio’s Ciano to cut off Milito was admirable and so was the performance of Ranocchia in getting a considerable number of interceptions and blocks from the few Lazio attacks. The match finally came to life, so to say, in the 2nd half when Inter players such as Guarin stepped up to put efforts either on the post or off the admirable Marchetti, who produced a vital double save to deny Inter. It was then Lazio’s chance as they wasted two of their own opportunities through Klose. But it wasn’t long enough before his industriousness and talent was regarded by an excellently placed shot into the bottom-right corner.
Overall, it was a forgetful performance for either team as there were few plays that caught eye and the incisiveness in the attacking third was surely lacking.
1) While Sneijder’s early Christmas breaks adds further oil to the rumors of him leaving the Nerazzurri in the coming January window, while the same for Coutinho left everybody dumbstruck.
2) Hernanes, reportedly the future replacement for Sneijder, was rather unimpressive in his performance.
3) With De Rossi exit rumors catching fire, Roma have stepped up and released statements ruling out his exit.
4) With the last 16 round of Coppa Italia coming up, it would be interesting to see if any potential upsets are on the cards, with the tie of the round surely being the Fiorentina vs. Udinese match.