Following my prediction that professionalism would prevail and that fans would have no say whatsoever in the outcome of the game at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night, the complete opposite was quite apparent. Lazio started the game well and kept Inter at bay, mostly down to the almost superhuman efforts of Fernando Muslera in goal.
Edy Reja fielded Lazio’s usual 3-5-2 formation with the wing backs dropping into a 5 man back line when they didn’t have the ball. The 3 man back line was caught out time and time again by balls over the top to Eto’o on the right. The goal came just before half time from the unlikely goal machine, Walter Samuel.
It is always a blow to concede just before half time but when your home fans celebrate the goal as much the away fans it must be a very strange environment to find yourself in. The Lazio ultras in the Curva Nord compounded their wild celebrations with a blatant attack of sarcasm toward Roma and their fans by unveiling a banner that read ‘Oh noooooo’. In the Italian press this morning the Roman fans have hit back by calling Lazio the third Milanese club and vowing to show no mercy when they meet Inter on Wednesday in the final of the Coppa Italia.
It must have been difficult for the players to react in such an environment where there are no fans in the stadium cheering you on. In this age of mercenary style transfers there are no truly iconic fan-players left in this Lazio side, they can be excused from throwing the game through anti-Roma sentiment. They cannot be excused however for not playing to their full potential.