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Saturday, 31 March 2007

4353: Serie A: Lazio Dreaming

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by : Paul Grech

Never has Italian football been in such desperate need for heroes. The World Cup victory is but a distant memory after the corruptions scandals and the fans’ rioting that have marked the past eight months as among the worst in calcio’s history.

The most obvious candidate as the finest example of Italian football’s new order should be Inter. Yet their dominance killed off interest in the league from virtually the third month apart from the fact that they are seen as one of the instigators of the corruption investigations.

Serie A thus has to look elsewhere for it salvation. The early form of Roma and Palermo had initially provided the enthusiasm. But, perhaps demoralised by Inter’s crushing series of victories, both have fallen back failing to win games they were winning with ease earlier in the seson.

Their place in the collective imagery as well as third place in the league is being filled by Lazio. Six wins on the run are the heart of their surge up the table in a league campgaign that started with an uphill struggle having been implicated in the corruptions scandal which cost them a place in Europe.

This took the wind out of their sails. Players who had earlier been looking forward to playing in Europe suddenly found the themselves involved in a relegation struggle,

The reason behind their success is manager Delio Rossi. He has managed to bring to the fore players’ talents that others weren’t aware they existed, That’s not always the case. Inter certainly got rid of Macedonian striker Goran Pandew who is the creative force of Lazio’s attack whereas striker Rocchi has show the ability has been putting away any half chance that get inhis way.

But Rossi’s biggest achievement has been that of coaxing out the talent of midfielder Manfredini who definitely looked lost after he left Chievo Verona.

With 49 points they have overtaken Palermo in third place and despite lacking Sergio Cragnotti’s millions they can still hope of fighting it out with the big boys.

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