The Biancocelesti beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Part thanks to a goal from Miroslav Klose, still going strong for Lazio up front, but their pre-season results have otherwise been uninspiring: a 1-0 defeat to Siena, a goalless draw with Panathinaikos and a narrow away victory against Nice may not have set the fans’ hopes racing, although they did overcome Spezia 3-0.
Super Cup - Juventus 4-0 Lazio
Lazio had beaten Roma in the Coppa Italia final to qualify for the Super Cup, but despite the strength of that victory they were unable to prevent Juventus from lifting their sixth Italian Super Cup, with the Bianconeri storming to a 4-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico.
Paul Pogba opened the scoring with a shot on the turn, before Giorgio Chiellini made it 2-0 after producing a striker’s finish on a rare foray into the opposition area. This sparked another two strikes in quick succession: Stephan Lichtsteiner and then Carlos Tevez both finished off deadly counter attacks to secure a comfortable victory.
The Biancocelesti did hold their own in terms of shots, getting a total of 13 in on Gigi Buffon’s goal, but although the Juve goalkeeper was forced to make some impressive saves they were mostly struck from long range, and Lazio seemed to have little answer to the Bianconeri’s incisiveness.
Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic admitted his side were second best: “They deserved it. Now we need to get our feet back on the ground after the final we won against Roma. We need to take a good look at ourselves, acknowledge our errors and start again afresh.”
First Serie A game – Lazio 2-1 Udinese
Vladimir Petkovic’s men faced Udinese in their opening encounter, a home game at the Stadio Olimpico. They appeared to have instantly put the Juve defeat behind them, creating a number of early chances, including hitting the post, in a dominant opening 12 minutes.
It was a moment of magic to open the scoring in their favour: a Hernanes wondergoal fired left-footed into the roof of the net from distance on the near post side.
Antonio Candreva then converted from the penalty spot after Miroslav Klose was sent flying by a rash challenge inside the box, and it should have been three moments later. A clever dummy and move from the German opened up the defence and deserved better, but when the ball was returned to him his shot flew over the bar.
But after such a confident first half, the Biancocelesti faded in the second, and were perhaps lucky that only Luis Muriel was able to get a goal back, slotting home after being put through one-on-one.
The opening day statistics show a Lazio side much improved on last season: their seven shots on target were a good deal higher than the 4.8 average they managed in the last campaign, and the amount of possession they enjoyed was also a lot better. They saw an equal amount of the ball as Udinese on this occasion, whereas last season they were ninth in the possession charts, behind teams such as Torino and Parma who finished behind them in the final Serie A table.
Speaking after the win, Petkovic described his satisfaction at a solid start: “This is an important victory because it means we’ve already got three points on the board, which is crucial seeing as our first few games are not easy. They are three points that will allow us to face Juve with a different mindset.
Meanwhile, midfielder Hernanes spoke about stepping up his game: “I managed to score from a difficult angle, I caught it right and I think I took the goalkeeper and defender by surprise. Am I inconsistent? It’s true that I’m always trying to improve, this year I’ll look to be as consistent as possible. I’m working on it and I’ll get better.”