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Oct 31

Palermo – Lazio: 0-1

First Half

As I was expecting, Palermo started the match with more intensity. It was obvious that their tactics was to apply as much pressure on Lazio midfielders and make more free space for Pastore and Ilicic, because Delio Rossi knew that Brocchi and Ledesma would be used a lot to narrow their spaces. Worth mentioning is smart utilization of Balzarreti on the left, who took advantage of Lichtesteiner`s permanence on his half. And so, Palermo players tried to create and shoot from outside the box, but to no aveil. Lazio defenders and midfielders were on full allert (save for one moment when Biava failed to clear the ball properly). 15 minutes, it was all Palermo, but having seen all Lazio away matches closely, I knew that this is Edy Reja`s tactics, who always leaves the oponenets the space for the opening part of the match in order to then exploit their weaknesses. The same happened here too: As time went by, Lazio players began to slowly ballance the match in terms of ball possession and creativity. And after a cross from a free kick which was awarded to Lazio, Ledesma makes the cross in the crowded Palermo box; Bovo forgot to close his player, in this case Andre Dias. Then latter receives the ball and fires it straight away. It`s 0-1 for Lazio.  27th minute. Typical Lazio performance this season. After that, nothing worth noting, save for a moment when Lichtsteiner unintentionally hand balled. Lazio lucky not to have e penalty awarded against.

Second half

I was expecting an even more agressive Palermo in the second half, but I was astonished to see their pace fall drastically in the begining. Delio Rossi made a mistake in my view by substituting Ilicic with Hernandez, who had to go off not long after entering (muslce straing I guess). Lazio was patiently waiting for counter attacks, and could have increased the lead very easily had Stefanu Mauri kicked the ball better after a nice pass from Hernanes. That could have killed the match without a doubt. Palermo makes the second and than the third sub, but Edy Reja makes a mistake by waiting too long to react. Players were getting tired and that could have fatal when Biava picked the second yellow and leave the match with at least 20 minutes to go! Biava had to make amends just because midfielders were tired and could not cope with their defensive tasks. Reja takes in Stendardo, than Gonzales and ultimately Scaloni; all three defensive players with the aim of protecting the lead. And there was a 5 minutes interval when Palermo could have levelled but Muslera stepped in with some incredible saves! Also Diaz had a monster performance in defense and one of his tackles on one Palermo player should serve as a teaching material for young defenders! And so, Lazio somehow was able of protecting the lead by not conceding space to Palermo. Another win and the lead at the top increased from 2 to 4 points! Grande ragazzi :)

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