Lazio 0 Genoa 1: Retegui Strike Compounds Lazio to Back-to-Back Defeats
Last season’s Serie A runner’s up Lazio lost for the second time in a week to unfancied opponents, surprisingly falling to newly promoted Genoa 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
A solitary strike from Italy striker Mateo Retegui proved to be enough for Alberto Gilardino’s side to get off the mark for the season.
Lazio would have the lion’s share of the play throughout the ninety minutes but could not break down a stubborn Grifone defense with several efforts spawned. Ciro Immobile came the closest for the hosts late on hitting the crossbar with a late chance.
Maurizio Sarri’s side for the best part would dominate much like their match day one 2-1 loss at Lecce but once more would lack a cutting edge in the final third.
The Biancoclesti now find themselves under the microscope already ahead of a daunting trip to champions Napoli next weekend as they face the prospect of their title chance already fading away.
Leading into the match bouncing back from such a capitulation late on against the minnows of Lecce would have been the goal for Sarri in this match-up. Conceding two goals in the last five minutes at Stadio Via del Mare was uncharacteristic of a frugal defense that had the second-best record in the league last season.
Immobile’s first-half goal looked to have earned three points for the Biancoclesti leaving Sarri and his side shell-shocked by the final result.
In reaction, the former Chelsea manager named a strong side showing only the one change to face new boys Genoa with Nicolo Casale coming in at the back with the previous result put down to a blip.
Lazio had won six of the seven meetings against their opponents in Rome, averaging three goals a game, giving no indication of an upset, with few backing anything but a home win. A 4-1 thrashing at home by a rampant Fiorentina for Genoa in their previous fixture backing the prediction of normal service being resumed.
The result would not have been the start Genoa head-coach Alberto Gilardino had in mind in his sides first match back in the Italian top-flight. Behind by three at the break and four on the hour, the Ligurian outfit would only have the consolation of a strike from defender Davide Biraschi to show from a dismal night at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Gilardino would look to shake things up bringing in Dutchman Kevin Strootman, returning from suspension into his 11, as one of four alterations, with Johan Vasquez and Stefano Sabelli brought in to start in the full back areas exposed by the Viola.
They would be positive changes as it would be the away side who started the brighter as the dangerous Retegui would show his quality by peeling off his marker to plant a header at home keeper Ivan Provedel. An early warning for Sarri’s side of Genoa’s goal threat that was not taken on board.
Lazio failed to clear their lines minutes later as the visitors took the lead from a corner with the ball falling to Dane Frendrup to chest and volley an effort toward the bottom left-hand corner. Provedel would save well with one hand but would be only able to push the ball into the path of Retegui to smash home his first Serie A goal.
Lazio responded positively and thought they should have had a penalty with Immobile appealing vigorously after being left in a heap by Dragusin to no avail with the striker’s protests waived away, before Zaccagni’s pile driver whistled over the crossbar as the half-time whistle approached.
Lazio would move up a gear after the break but would often struggle to find the final ball that was so prominent in the previous few seasons from the departed Serbian Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Daichi Kamada and Luis Alberto both trying to unlock Genoa’s stubborn rearguard but would be unable to find the frustrated figure of Immobile up top.
Sarri’s side threw everything at the Grifone in the closing stages with numerous efforts flying wide of the goal. Then would come their best moment, Zaccagni getting the better of his marker on the left-hand side before guiding through a pass to Immobile. The forward, at full stretch chipping visiting goalkeeping Josep Martinez only for his effort to bounce off the top of the crossbar.
Gilardino’s side would be hanging on as guilt edge chances from substitutes Castellanos and Isaksen would be spawned deep into the final exchanges before Martinez would deny Vecino from distance in stoppage time.
It would be Genoa who would hold on for a rare victory in the capital and leave Sarri and Lazio with much to ponder over the coming days.
Lazio X1: Ivan Provedel, Manuel Lazzari, Nicolo Casale, Alessio Romagnoli, Adam Marusic (Luka Pellegrini 66), Daichi Kamada (Matias Vecino 66), Danilo Cataldi (Valentin Castellanos 79), Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson (Gustav Isaksen 66), Ciro Immobile (captain), Mattia Zaccagni.
Genoa X1: Josep Martinez, Stefano Sabelli (Aaron Martin 85), Mattia Bani, Radu Dragusin, Johan Vasquez, Morten Frendrup, Milan Badlej (captain), Kevin Stootman (Morten Thorsby 70), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Silvan Hefti 70), Albert Gudmundsson (Filip Jagiello 94), Mateo Retegui (Caleb Ekuban 70).