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Italy - Serie A
January 6, 2014
• Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: A. Damato
• Attendance: 35000
M. Klose 81'
Klose's volley was expertly taken, and after their first half showing Lazio just about deserved it. Inter huffed and puffed but had no penetration going forward and were made to pay for their poor defensive play. They remain 18 points behind Juventus. I've been Tom Maston, and thanks for joining me.
A mistake by Juan almost allows Klose to add a second, but in the end it doesn't matter as Reja makes a winning start to his second spell as Lazio coach. The hosts may not have dominated possession but were able to take advantage of some slack defending late on.
90' + 1'
We are into three minutes of stoppage time but Inter continue to be wasteful in the final third as an Alvarez cross is collected by Berisha.
Almost a horrible moment for Berisha as his clearance finds Alvarez, but after he gets the ball into the box first Palacio and Jonathan are shepherded away from goal.
Candreva, who has been excellent, is replaced for the final moments by Ederson.
Yellow Card Cristian Ledesma
Ledesma picks up a yellow card as he catches Nagatomo as the wing-back looks to break.
Hernanes looks to finish it off as he cuts inside from the right but his effort is deflected wide by Juan.
Inter continuing to try and pass the ball through the Lazio defence, but Milito is caught offside after Kovacic looks to play the ball into his feet.
Inter make their final change as Ranocchia, who fell asleep for the goal, is replaced by Zanetti.
Goal Miroslav Klose
GOAL!!! The deadlock is broken, and it is superb play from Lazio to take the lead. Cavanda beats Nagatomo before finding Candreva, and the midfielder puts in a perfect cross for Klose to get in front of Ranocchia and volley in. Poor defensive work from Inter.
Assist Antonio Candreva
Yet another pass from midfield is too heavy for Palacio. This game seems destined to end goalless with defences well on top.
Juan brings the ball forward from defence, but just as it looks like he may be able to play a teammate in he is tackled by Ledesma and concedes a free-kick. This has been a very frustrating second half for the visitors.
Somewhat surprisingly it is Guarin who is replaced.
Lazio are beginning to come back into the game a little, but Klose has not been able to make much of an impact thus far. Milito is on his way...
Cavanda looks to get Candreva in down the right, but Handanovic can see out for a goal kick. Still Milito waits to make his entrance.
Milito is stripped and readied as Handanovic blasts a clearance against Klose. Luckily for the Inter goalkeeper the ball ricochets harmlessly away from goal.
Since the Nagatomo header Inter have struggled to break down the Lazio defence and certainly need something different to penetrate the hosts' back four.
Milito is sent for another jog and surely it won't be long until the striker makes his return from injury. Neither side looks like breaking the deadlock at present.
Inter are still being allowed all the time in the world to keep possession in their own half and build attacks from deep. Meanwhile there is a big cheer from the away fans as Zanetti begins his warm-up on the sidelines.
Onazi replaces Gonzalez as Lazio make their second change of the match.
Finally Berisha is tested in the Lazio goal as Jonathan crosses from the right and Nagatomo's powerful header is tipped over the bar.
Inter make their first change of the evening as Kuzmanovic is replaced by teenager Kovacic.
Yet another shot comes in from around 30 yards as Guarin sends an effort high into the stands. The visitors may well be looking to test Berisha at every opportunity.
Inter continue to push forward but Ranocchia wastes an opportunity as he shoots from distance and sees his effort fly well off-target. Lazio are struggling at present.
Finally Palacio gets clear of the hosts' defence after an excellent through ball from Guarin, but Biava does brilliantly to take the ball off the striker's toes with only Berisha to beat.
Inter are certainly pushing forward, and after Jonathan's shot is charged down by Dias, Alvarez sees a wild effort fly over the bar.
Palacio again loses the ball with his back to goal as Cavanda comes away with the ball. With Milito out warming-up we may see a change up front for Inter fairly soon.
Lazio are looking to play plenty of long balls for Klose to try and win, but Inter are dealing with the Germany striker with ease. The hosts need to go back to the counter-attacking style they showed in the first half you feel.
As with the first period, Inter are dominating possession, though Rolando almost got himself into bother after a misplaced pass from Kuzmanovic. Fortunately the defender recovered to challenge Klose as he looked to run through on goal.
Inter kick-off and we are back underway...
The two sides are making their way back onto the field as they look to find the goal that could seal all three points. Inter will need to improve in the final third if it is to be them to pick up the victory.
Reja will certainly be pleased with the way his side have started his second spell in charge as their game plan of sitting back and looking hit Inter on the break seems to be working. But can they force a win? I'll be back in ten minutes to find out.
And with that the half-time whistle blows with the deadlock yet to be broken. Inter have certainly had more possession, though it is the hosts who have gone the closer of the two sides.
45' + 2'
A superb crossfield pass from Guarin finds Jonathan, who in turn feeds Palacio, but the striker's touch is too heavy and the chance is gone.
Possibly the last opportunity of the half as a long Ledesma free-kick is won by Dias in the box, but his header has no control and flies well wide.
Palacio is cutting a frustrated figure, and he is again left to chase a lost cause as Guarin overhits a through ball.
Alvarez is certainly growing into the match, and he is able to get a shot off at goal from just outside the box. Biava is brave though and throws his body at the ball to make the block.
Yellow Card Ricardo Álvarez
Another yellow card here as Alvarez is penalised for a challenge on Gonzalez, though replays suggest he got some of the ball.
Nagatomo leads an Inter counter-attack, but there is little in support and Lazio can clear eventually.
Yellow Card Stefan Radu
Yellow Card F. Guarín
Ugly scenes here as Guarin is booked for a foul on Lulic before he gets involved with Radu, and the left-back also picks up a yellow card for pushing the Inter man in the chest.
Lazio have their tails up here and they again test Handanovic as Candreva gets a shot away from the corner of the box that the goalkeeper beats away.
Lazio take advantage of Jonathan switching off as a deep Ledesma ball is headed across goal by Lulic, but Hernanes does not catch his shot sweetly and it rolls harmlessly wide.
Alvarez has been particularly quiet so far in a slightly withdrawn role, and his performance is summed up with a low cross after a quickly taken free-kick that fails to beat the first man.
Candreva, who has looked the most threatening player on either side wastes a chance this time as his cross from the right goes straight out for a goal kick.
Inter's attacking play hasn't been good enough so far, with Ranocchia's ball that is too heavy for Guarin summing up this first half so far for the visitors.
Handanovic makes the first save of the match as Klose gets on the end of Candreva's deflected cross at the near post. The Inter goalkeeper is quick off his line though and parries the effort behind.
Guarin is again upset with the referee as he is penalised for catching Biava as he turned the defender. He may have a point as it seemed Biava got himself in trouble with his positioning.
Alvarez is the man to strike the resulting free-kick from around 25 yards, and despite curling his effort over the wall, it is too high and Berisha can watch it go over his crossbar.
Yellow Card Andrè Dias
Opportunities at either end as Candreva breaks away from Juan, only for the defender to atone for his error to make the tackle. Guarin then goes clear, only to be tugged back by Dias. Guarin believes the defender was the last man, but he is only booked.
Lazio are certainly playing in a solid fashion, with Ledesma shielding the defence effectively. Frustration is starting to grow for the visitors.
Inter are certainly having the monopoly of possession, but they are struggling to find Palacio up front. The likes of Guarin and Alvarez need to get on the ball much more.
Konko is indeed coming off, with Cavanda on in his place.
There is some concern here for Lazio as Konko lies motionless on the turf with the physios in close proximity. It looks as if he will be leaving the field on a stretcher.
Lazio are certainly starting to come into this one, and an excellent break from Candreva gives the visitors a headache. He fails to get a cross in from the left, though, and Juan is able to come across and win the ball.
Inter's defence has been poor this season, and they almost hand Lulic a goal as a mix-up between Jonathan and Ranocchia allows the winger to get a toe on the ball, only to see his lobbed effort drop wide with Handanovic beaten.
Inter have the first opportunity of the game as Ranocchia feeds Juan around 25 yards from goal, but the defender's shot is too high to trouble Serie A debutant Berisha.
The hosts continue to sit back and wait for their opportunities, though they are left frustrated when Klose is caught offside after Ledesma wins the ball in midfield.
Inter are certainly happy to play a patient passing game as Lazio get every man behind the ball when they lose possession. No sights of goal thus far.
Lazio have started brightly and have the ball in the box for the first time as Candreva whips a cross across the six-yard box. Unfortunately there is no one there to meet it and Jonathan can bring the ball clear.
Lazio kick-off and we are underway...
All the formalities have been and gone and we are almost ready to get underway...
The two teams are making their way out onto the field for what is a crucial fixture even at this stage of the season. Defeat here for either side could set a worrying precedent for the second half of the campaign.
There is already a good crowd in Stadio Olimpico as the players go through their final preparations. Plenty of woolly hats and thick coats on show with the temperature certainly chilly in Rome.
There are just under ten minutes until kick-off in the Italian capital as these two sides look to set the tone for an improved second half of the season. Who do you see coming out on top?
Juventus, Napoli and Milan have already won in this round of fixtures, so the pressure is most certainly on for the visitors to keep pace in the race for both the Champions League places and even the title should they go on a remarkable run in the second half of the campaign. Wins over Lazio in matches such as this one will be crucial if they are to make it into the top three.
Inter have been very impressive going forward this season, scoring 37 goals, and they are the third-highest scorers in the division. Defensively they have struggled however, and they will have to marshall Miroslav Klose well to keep a clean sheet in Stadio Olimpico.
Inter: Handanovic; Ranocchia, Rolando, Juan; Jonathan, Alvarez, Kuzmanovic, Nagatomo; Cambiasso, Guarin; Palacio.
Lazio: Berisha; Konko, Biava, Dias, Radu; Hernanes, Gonzalez; Candreva, Ledesma, Lulic; Klose.
Before we continue the build-up to kick-off, the two sides have been revealed...
Reja begins his second reign in charge of Lazio with his side lying 12th in the Serie A table and well off the pace in the race for European places. Inter are not faring much better, however, as they begin the secon half of the season 18 points behind Juventus in sixth, though a win this evening would see them back into the top five at the expense of Hellas Verona.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Serie A encounter between Lazio and Inter Milan. After the winter break football is back in Italy, with this match rounding off a superb weekend of fixtures. This evening's match-up sees Edy Reja take charge of his first Lazio match back in the hotseat after a Vladimir Petkovic's departure, and despite Inter's disappointing season thus far it promises to be an exciting encounter. I'm Tom Maston and I'll be guiding you through all the action from Rome.
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