Serie A Game of the Week – Round 27: Crotone vs Lazio

Soccer: Serie A; Crotone-Lazio

Rather unsurprisingly, the best match of the last round was one of the few were both teams had something to fight for: Crotone-Lazio, which was exhilarating up until the final whistle.

The Sharks came into the game looking to atone for last week’s tough loss to a direct rival, Chievo Verona. On the other hand, the Biancocelesti had not lost since late February and were coming off a draw with Atalanta. 

Walter Zenga went with a more conservative line-up than usual, inserting the fullback Marco Davide Faraoni on offence, picking the muscular Marcus Rohden  over the more inventive Adrian Stoian in the midfielder and deploying only one pure striker, Simy, with Andrea Nalini supporting him. Simone Inzaghi replaced the injured Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto and Marco Parolo with Felipe Caicedo, Felipe Anderson and Alessandro Murgia and, compared to the usual XI, chose Dusan Basta over Adam Marusic on the right flank.

The first turn of the game took place after 15 minutes with Senad Lulic colliding with Federico Ceccherini in the box and gaining a penalty, which he converted even if Alex Cordaz guessed correctly. Crotone immediately tried to respond and it did not take long for them to equalize: just before the half an hour mark, Bruno Martella rumbled down the left flank and sent in a pluperfect cross that Simy easily headed home.

Before halftime, Caicedo missed a clear-cut chance as he took too long to decide what to do in front of the goalkeeper and ended up shooting the ball too softly. The striker then hit the bar with a header off a free kick after the break.

The Pythagoreans completed the comeback after sixty minutes: Andrea Barberis found Ceccherini at the end of a long free kick, where Thomas Strakosha should have probably intervened. The defender’s conclusion kissed the far post and went in. Shortly thereafter, Rohden’s attempt from close range was denied by Stefan De Vrij on the goal line.

Following the scare, the Eagles equalized with five minutes to go: De Vrij flicked on a cross by Felipe Anderson, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic somehow controlled it, shielded a defender, turned and precisely put it out of Cordaz’s reach in the spare of a couple of seconds. The Serbian had two further chances with two headers, but one was wide and the other was saved.

Lazio did not secure the fourth spot, but they have a three-point lead over Inter and the two teams will square off next week at Olimpico. Crotone are now third-to-last: they need to make points at San Paolo against Napoli and hope one between Spal, Cagliari, Udinese or Chievo lose.

In the fantasy game, Lulic and Milinkovic gained four points for their goals, Federico Ceccherini just three because they allowed multiple goals, Barberis two for the assist, Martella and De Vrij one.

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