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Genoa 3-2 Lazio: The Biancazzurri punished

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By Sherron Charles

Monday 06 February 2012

The free scoring on both ends of the pitch since Pasquale Marino took over resumed for Genoa as they hosted 4th place Lazio. A cheeky effort from Rodrigo Palacio and two goals from defensive blunders scored by Bosko Jankovic was enough to see off a feint comeback by the Romans. The new Coach would not only heartened by his team’s performance but also has to take lot of credit has to go to him for his tactics on the day.

4-4-2 vs 4-2-2-2
With playmaker Hernanes starting on the bench (due to injury) Edy Reja brought in Francesco Matuzalem to play alongside Christian Ledesma in midfield. Center midfielders Alvaro Gonzalez and Senad Lulic were chucked out to the wings which meant that Lazio had ditched their customary 4-3-1-2 to play 4-4-2. Marino chose to pair new signing Alberto Gilardino with Rogrido Palacio up top and flank them with Guiseppe Sculli and Jankovic who both mainly played tucked in rather than hugging the touchline. Their midfielders sat much further aback making their shape a 4-2-2-2.

Build up play
The away team pressed their host’s back four and made it difficult for them to build from the back. They responded by playing direct passes into their 'front four' who looked to combine quickly to get in behind the opposition's backline. Palacio and Gilardino especially linked up very well. Their strike partnership has shown a lot of promise after just four games. Reja's men, who weren't pressed high up the field, were a bit more patint in their build up and attempted to get the ball into the wide areas. They focused most of their attacks on the right flank to test stand-in left back Kevin Constant duel. The Guinean had a shaky start to the game but once he got comfortable he got the better of Gonzalez thus neutralising Lazio's threat from the flank.

Space between the lines
The dissimilar deployment of both set of midfielders meant that, at least in theory, success between the midfield and defensive lines would vary. Mutazalem and Ledesma took turns pressing high up which meant some space was left space behind them. Added to this, neither of them are defensive midfielders by nature which meant this area was there to be exploited. Rodrigo Palacio obliged and dropped deep looking to link Genoa's attack to the rest of the team. Lazio's central defenders were very reluctant to follow him into this area and this contributed to him influencing the game greatly.

Genoa's midfield combination of Davide Biondini and Juraj Kucka sat just in front of the back four. They allowed the opposing midfielders space in front of them but cutoff the space in behind. According to WhoScored.com, they accumulated a total of 13 interceptions between illustrating their dominance in the game. Miroslav Klose, who likes to come deep while the play is developing, was prevented from getting onto the ball in this area early on and so was Antonio Candreva who came on to play just behind the German.

Lazio comeback?
After Ledesma pulled one back for the Biancoazzurri, Reja reacted by taking off the abysmal Javier Garrido and bringing on young forward Antonio Rozzi and Senad Lulic dropped to left back. The Bosnian who was getting the better of Mesto was now less effective attacking from deep. The visitors pushed to get a result by committing numbers forward while Ledesma and Matuzalem stayed deep looking to dictate proceeding from there. As a result of this they helped stretch Genoa's midfield as Juraj Kucka pushed up to close them down but left space in behind him which the two time Serie A champions exploited.

An opportunity to go third was lost due to some erratic play at the back for the Romans who, in their defense, did have a makeshift backline. Aboulay Konko was the only survivor from previous matches versus Chievo and Milan and Garrido was playing his first game since May. I Rossoblu did well to protect the space between the lines and capitalize on their opposition’s errors to secure the three points and push closer to a Europa League spot.

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