Friday, November 13, 2009

bye-bye ballardini

Thiago Silva

Lazio 1 AC Milan 2
Playing in Rome is tough, no matter who your opponent is. Roma might be the more accomplished side, but Lazio will still give you a tough time. Nevertheless, the Aquile haven't been a team to fear this term. Last season, Zarate was enough to wet the pants of the opposition defense, and with Rocchi and Pandev as options to the gaffer, Lazio weren't under-estimated. The staff hasn't dramatically changed in that respect. But the effect has. This team hasn't won since week 2 of the Serie A. The men from the eternal city no longer have the terrorizing effect they once had.

The highlight of this game was Silva's strike. It was long time coming, and I'm glad that it finally came. The Brazilian centre half is one of the most threatening defenders from an attacking position in club football. I have seen enough to certify that at this informal level. His movements, and his accuracy can be used as a module for attackers. Literally, that is how good he is. Defensively, he might have issues, but that can be tweaked in time. Dida would have another sound evening between the sticks. Milan put themselves in considerable distance after Pato headed brilliantly past Muslera from an assist by 'assist machine' Ronaldinho. Seedorf could've made it 3-0 with an indirect free kick that resulted from a back pass, but the Dutchman characteristically fired wide. Lazio were facing the possibility of losing this game before the half ended, and needed to score one. Julio Cruz came on for Mauri and this substitution almost worked instantaneously when the Argentine nearly converted from a Silva deflection. Lazio were banking on luck this evening, and it did pay them the desired interest, as Zarate's effort snipped Silva and went past Dida into the back of the net. This gave the home team a glimmer of hope. Zarate was involved again not much later, to be denied by Dida, and Pato fired just over. Pato was giving the Biancocelesti a torrid time with his pace. Rocchi and Zarate were having their say at the other end as well, but lacked the finishing touch. Milan had to grind out the result for about half an hour, and somehow managed to do that.

It wasn't a classic, as some scorelines in recent history between these two sides have ended resembling cricket scores. Ballardini was supposedly asked to deliver in this game or collect his final allowance. But the manager survived, but just. The catastrophe at the hands of Villarreal in midweek had sent the alarm bells ringing. It wont be long before we see someone else wearing the jacket at the touchlines. Leo however is experiencing contrasting fortunes. The question is, for how long?

Scorers -
Lazio - Thiago Silva o.g 64'
Milan - Thiago Silva 21', Pato 35'

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