SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 21 - 1 Feb 2012 (19.45 UK)
Lazio 2 - 0 Milan
Hernanes 76 (L), Rocchi 85 (L)
Stadio Olimpico

Lazio took their chances and Milan did not, as Hernanes and Tommaso Rocchi sank the Rossoneri 2-0.

This was a huge game in the Scudetto race, as the Rossoneri had the chance to close up on leaders Juventus. They were in the middle of an injury crisis with Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mathieu Flamini, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Aquilani, Mario Yepes, Gennaro Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Alexander Merkel and Rodney Strasser unavailable. Lazio had problems too, as they missed Cristian Brocchi, Libor Kozak, Stephen Makinwa, Emiliano Alfaro, Lorik Cana and Stefano Mauri.

Antonio Nocerino’s header was well parried by Federico Marchetti, while Francelino Matuzalem’s daisy-cutter was just wide. Strangely, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was playing in a slightly deeper role than Robinho and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Marchetti rushed out of the box to nod a dangerous ball away from Ibra. Lazio threatened from a corner that flew past the crowd of players, nobody able to finish it off, while Christian Abbiati smothered a Hernanes snapshot.

El Shaarawy ran on to an Ibra through ball and got round Marchetti, staying on his feet despite some contact, but by then the angle was too narrow to score.

Ibrahimovic sprung the offside trap in midfield, but hesitated and it rolled out of play rather than set up an unmarked El Shaarawy. The Swede blamed a divot in the turf for his error and glared daggers at it.

There was controversy within 120 seconds of the restart, as El Shaarawy burst between two Lazio defenders and wanted a penalty for an Andre Dias handling offence. The referee discussed it with his assistant and suggested El Shaarawy was to blame, but replays clearly show Dias punching the ball off the Under-21 international’s chest.

Massimo Ambrosini’s header skimmed the crossbar and Lazio lost Dias to a suspected thigh strain. Christian Abbiati flapped at an Abdoullay Konko cross-shot and Tommaso Rocchi was furious, as he felt Stefan Radu was tripped just inside the area by Thiago Silva, but the referee insisted the Brazilian had not actually moved, so the Lazio player ran on to his leg.

Nocerino’s screamer was beaten away and Robinho threaded through for Ibrahimovic, who surprisingly hesitated so the chance went begging.

However, just as Milan were pelting the goal with attempts, it was Lazio who scored on the counter-attack. Hernanes got his sixth goal of the season by running on to a smart Rocchi flick and anticipating Alexxandro Nesta to flash the angled drive across Abbiati as he fell to the ground.

Hernanes nearly made it 2-0 with another well-taken angled drive on Rocchi’s dummy, but it skimmed the base of the far post.

Milan gave Maxi Lopez his debut, but Lazio doubled their lead with Rocchi’s 99th Serie A goal. Senad Lulic got to the by-line and pulled back for Rocchi, who smashed it first time into the near top corner from six yards.

Ibra wasted another chance in a really off day for the Swede, placing the daisy-cutter across the six-yard box to go wide.

Antonio Candreva received his Lazio debut just 24 hours after completing the move from Cesena.


Lazio: Marchetti; Konko, Biava, Dias (Stankevicius 51), Radu; Gonzalez, Ledesma, Lulic, Matuzalem; Hernanes (Candreva 88); Rocchi (Rozzi 92)
Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Ambrosini (Emanuelson 66), Van Bommel (Maxi Lopez 79), Nocerino; El Shaarawy (Seedorf 66); Robinho, Ibrahimovic
Ref: Damato