Performance spotlight: Lazio vs Fiorentina

Performance spotlight: Lazio vs Fiorentina

Tonight see’s Lazio and Fiorentina meet in a fixture that could be crucial to both sides aspirations of finishing in the top six of Serie A and securing European football for next season. 

On this weeks performance spotlight we’re going back to the mid 90’s, when Zdenek Zeman’s Lazio came up against Claudio Ranieri’s Fiorentina, and put on one of the all time great Serie A attacking displays.

It had the makings of a very tough game for Lazio. When the sides had met earlier in the season it took a 90th minute equaliser for them to salvage anything from the tie. While the sides league form had been good since then they would be without the reigning capocannoniere Beppe Signori for the fixture. As it turned out, they would do just fine without him. 

Casiraghi, the man tasked with stepping into Signori’s shoes, scored the first after just four minutes. The goal coming from a fantastic Alen Boksic assist. After being slipped through on goal he unselfishly fired it back across the six yard box for Casiraghi to tap in.

 

 

A well worked corner routine found Paolo Negro in acres of space to score the second on the half hour mark before a converted penalty made it three just five minutes later. 

A late rally from Fiorentina saw them awarded a penalty, Batistuta’s hammered effort was saved and the sides misarable first half was compounded when Stefano Pioli, a man who would later manage both sides, saw red after 45 mins.

Two great Lazio goals followed shortly after the half as the ten men of Fiorentina struggled to keep up. Casiraghi bagged the first after another close range tap in following a sweeping move. He then turned provider, expertly nodding a deep cross back into the middle before Boksic finished with a diving header. 

Rui Costa and Batistuta pulled two back for Fiorentina for the slightly more respectable score line of 5-2 only for Casiraghi to, for the third time in the game, finish from close range following a square ball across the six yard box. 

Humiliatingly for Fiorentina, Casiraghi wasn’t done. After a teenage Marco Di Vaio had made it 7-2, Lazio won the fourth penalty of the game and Casiraghi stepped up to score his fourth of the day and round off arguably the worst match of Ranieri’s managerial career. 

Ranieri’s loss however was Zeman’s gain. Lazio’s performance that day had been the ultimate exhibition of his philosophy. At times the free flowing performance closet resembled that of a modern day Manchester City, complete with plenty of close range, high percentage, goals scored from cut backs and that’s no coincidence.

He encouraged his wingers to tuck inside in order to crowd the box and allowed his full backs full reign to bomb forward. Defensively it was almost suicide but as long as his sides scored more, he never worried too much about conceding. 

One things for sure, on that day in 1995 it all came together perfectly.

 

Words by Andy Gallagher

 

 

 

 

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