A terrible Lazio performance saw them crash 4-0 away to Siena, but there were two bizarre penalties and Albano Bizzarri’s red card.
This is a remarkable result, as the Aquile had been unbeaten on their travels this season and had previously conceded only six goals away from home.
The first Serie A game of 2012 kicked off at the Stadio Artemio Franchi with Djibril Cissè returning to the starting XI, though the rest of the Biancocelesti were massively reshuffled. Libor Kozak, Cristian Brocchi, Abdullay Konko, Federico Marchetti, Francelino Matuzalem, Stefano Mauri and Stephen Makinwa were all out of action. Siena had Roberto Vitiello and Gaetano D’Agostino suspended, while Simone Vergassola and goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic were injured.
Siena had the first real chance on the counter-attack with Mattia Destro drilling just over, then Alessandro Gazzi’s daisy-cutter skimmed the base of the upright from a smart Emanuele Calaiò touch back. Moments later, Calaiò went for goal himself, testing Bizzarri at the near post.
The pressure finally paid off, as after 11 minutes Destro burst past Marius Stankevicius and Giuseppe Biava through the middle and his angled drive flashed across Bizzarri into the far bottom corner. It was Siena’s first goal after five sterile rounds.
Lazio finally created a scoring opportunity on 27 minutes when Lorik Cana unleashed a fierce strike from distance, but Gianluca Pegolo beat it away and Sculli was offside when trying to latch on to the rebound.
Sculli really should’ve equalised when Cissè flicked on a Lionel Scaloni cross to the back post, but the striker incredibly ballooned over from six yards.
Stankevicius was part of a makeshift Lazio back four and it showed, as he gave away a penalty when Franco Brienza went on a mazy run between Scaloni and his teammate. The referee pointed to the spot, considering it to be a body-check, but replays suggest Stankevicius was simply too slow to get out of the way. Calaiò stepped up and coolly converted into the top corner past Bizzarri.
Cissè tried to get his first goal since September, but Pegolo was equal to the twisting header at the base of the near stick. In first half stoppages, Sculli also nodded inches past the upright.
Once again, Lazio wasted an opportunity and then fell apart at the other end with a counter-attack. Destro squirmed between Senad Lulic and Stankevicius, then flicked the ball over the on-rushing Bizzarri to hit the post. Destro got back up to tap into an empty net, but strangely the referee preferred to award a penalty and flash the red card at Bizzarri rather than allow play to go ahead.
This meant Juan Pablo Carrizo came on as third choice goalkeeper and could not stop another Calaiò penalty in the same angle, but this time lower.
Straight after the restart, substitute Gonzalez chipped up a cross that Klose only skimmed it with his head a yard in front of goal. Lazio seemed to improve with 10 men, as Siena sat back and focused on the counter.
Destro tested Carrizo at the near post after leaving Stankevicius behind and the Biancocelesti’s brief moment of pride soon dissipated. Possession was dominated by Siena after 15 minutes of the first half and both sides were just waiting for the game to end.
The tension got to Sculli, who hurled abuse at Coach Reja as he was substituted in the final minutes.
Siena added to their tally in the closing stages, as Destro completed his brace with a marvellous header in at the near top corner from a Cristiano Del Grosso cross. Once again, the Under-21 international got between the Lazio defenders.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk
Sent off: Bizzarri 45+2 (L)