Sports Mole's text coverage of Lazio's 2-0 win over Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpic, inspired by super-sub Miroslav Klose.
By Liam Power, Reporter Filed: Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 19:15 UK
Last Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 00:31 UK
Lazio hosted Cagliari in Serie A tonight desperately looking to relieve the pressure on coach Vladimir Petkovic, who has been forced to defend his position for much of the past week following quit rumours.
The Aquile were without a win in four and struggled early on against the Rossoblu, but their mood improved soon after the interval thanks to the introduction of Miroslav Klose.
Just nine minutes after coming on Klose broke the deadlock, before winning a penalty kick that Antonio Candreva confidently dispatched to set Lazio on course for a morale-boosting victory.
Look back on a big night at the Olimpico with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.
7.17pmGood evening Calcio fans. Thanks for sticking with Sports Mole for comprehensive coverage from all the big games in Serie A, which continues tonight as round nine from Italy finishes with Lazio against Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpico.
7.20pmLazio in particular head into this clash under pressure to perform, with a poor run of recent results leading to questions surrounding Vladimir Petkovic's position as coach. The Serb enjoyed a successful season last time out, but not even a Coppa Italia victory has taken the pressure off this time round.
7.23pmAquile fans have particularly upset with Lazio's away form so far this season, with last weekend's defeat at Atalanta their third in four matches on the road. That's quite simply not good enough for a club of Lazio's stature, who had genuine expectations of European qualification when the campaign began.
7.26pmCagliari meanwhile are far worse on their travels, failing to win any of their last 10 away games. Last week's win over Catania was huge lift though for the Rossoblu, who currently sit five points above the relegation zone.
7.29pmCagliari are frustratingly inconsistent, particularly when you look at some of the talent available to coach Ivo Pulga. In Davide Astori they have a young central defender with full Azzurri honours, while the pace of Victor Ibarbo in attack can cause anyone problems.
7.32pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! We have just received news on the starting XIs from the Olimpico, with Lazio clearly still hampered by a string of injury problems as youngster Brayan Perea starts in attack. A full look at both teams will follow in just a few moments.
7.39pmThe most notable omission for Lazio tonight is definitely Hernanes. The Brazilian playmaker joins Miroslav Klose and on the bench despite not carrying a recognised injury problem, but with Petkovic under such scrutiny surely the midfielder has not been rested? Perea is preferred to Sergio Floccari in attack, while Antonio Candreva and Ederson will be asked to provide creative influence from midfield
7.41pmCagliari boss Pulga has picked what looks like an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Marco Sau deemed fit to start in an advanced attacking role. Ibarbo will lead the line, while Radja Nainggolan should sit deep in midfield as the anchor.
7.43pmPREDICTION! As we await the two teams there is just time for to hazard a guess at tonight's scoreline which is particularly difficult given both side's struggles. Lazio coach Petkovic has rung the changes tonight and I expect a reaction, but Cagliari have pace on the counter and are definitely capable of causing problems. I'll go for a home win, but only just!
0 minHere we go then at a relatively raucous Olimpico, with Lazio kicking off shooting right to life. Lazio desperately need a victory tonight, at least if their players want to keep Petkovic as coach for another week.
3 minAn early touch for Lazio goalkeeper Marchetti against his former club, coming out to claim an early catch comfortably. Opposite number Agazzi is soon forced to respond in king and shows bravery to deny Anderson, coming off his line quickly to shut down the Brazilian and getting a whack for his efforts.
6 minMarco Sau and Onazi both fail to find the right pass at opposite ends, with both sides just lacking that confident streak that comes with positive results early on. Cagliari have settled quickly though, you feel if they can keep the crowd hostile anything is possible for the visitors.
9 minLazio are just starting to take control of possession as Candreva drops deep to help Onazi under pressure. The Azzurri winger was left at home for last Thursday's Europa League tie in Cyprus, which means that he should be fresh as a daisy tonight.
12 minSau and Ibrabo combine neatly for Cagliari but an over-eager approach sees Sau concede a cheap free kick under pressure from Biglia. Lazio then break as Candreva sends a speculative drilled cross into the box, which seemed to take a deflection but trickles behind without a corner kick being given.
15 minCandreva wins a free kick out wide under pressure from two defenders, but Ederson's delivery into the penalty area is a poor one. Lazio must make more of opportunities in those from that range, particularly given their struggles in front of goal in recent weeks without Klose.
18 minBiglia gets a crucial block on Cabrera's effort from just inside the penalty area, taking the sting out of a strike that looked to heading inside the top corner. You can sense the tension at the Olimpico, as a nervous home crowd wait for the home players to produce a moment to savour.
21 minAstori nearly gets on the end of Ibarbo's flick after staying forward from a corner kick, but Marchetti is quick off the mark and shuts down his international teammate at full stretch.
24 minIbarbo is given time and space to cross out wide after drifting between the lines, but Novaretti reads the danger and heads clear at the near post. The visitors are growing in confidence here, they can sense the nervous energy at the Olimpico!
27 minCHANCE! Ibarbo looks destined to find the corner after racing onto Nainggolan's through ball, but should have looked up as Novaretti raced back to cover. His strike partner Sau had taken up a great position at the far post, but Ibarbo kept his head down and eventually had a low strike blocked behind.
30 minThe first piece of service for young Colombian striker Perea, as Candreva gets to the byline for standing up a cross towards the six-yard box. Perea makes a move to meet the pass but judges his angles wrong, turning a tame header well wide of the target.
33 minNainggolan has made a fine start in midfield but ventures forward on this occasion, taking up a clever position on the left flank. The Belgian's quick pass into the box just evades Sau, while at the other end Ederson's speculative long pass only just evades Candreva.
36 minOnazi robs the ball brilliantly and passesto Ederson. The Brazilian's driving run is brought to a halt just outside the box, with Anderson picking up the pieces to aim a low strike at goal. There is never any great threat behind his curling effort, which Agazzi watches all the way before catching comfortably.
39 minA rare sight of goal for Lazio and Cana should have at least tested the goalkeeper with a headed effort. The defender had time to judge his effort after finding space at the back post to meet a corner kick, but failed to get effective contact on an effort which sailed wide.
42 minLazio coach Petkovic looks anguished on the touchline as Onazi fouls Sau with a clumsy challenge near the corner flag. From the free kick Cabrera whips a cross beyond the far post, but Cagliari recycle possession and quickly win another set piece as Sau is hauled over again by Ederson.
44 minSUBSTITUION: Cagliari defender Perico has clearly just strained a leg muscle, as he goes down signalling to the bench immediately. The visitors take swift action and introduce Francesco Pisano, who comes on to make his first appearance of the season.
45 min+1More slick movement from Sau sees the forward break down the right, with his cross eventually looped towards Marchetti after Ibarbo failed to generate any power behind his header.
45 min+2Astori has quite amazingly not been cautioned after lunging into a challenge on Candreva with studs showing. That was a nasty tackle with a hint of revenge about it, but the referee decides that a free kick is punishment enough.
8.38pmWell that first 45 minutes will have done very little to improve the nervy atmosphere at the Olimpico for Lazio supporters. The Aquile have struggled to create clear-cut chances and looked vulnerable on the counter, but can now go into the break and regroup ready for a fight in the second half.
8.42pmCagliari for their part have battled in midfield and looked to get quick passes through to Sau, who has been by far the best player on the pitch so far tonight. The forward is dropping off into dangerous positions and feeding Ibarbo, but the pair need more support if the visitors are serious about claiming their first away win in 11 attempts.
8.45pmLazio look a side devoid of confidence, despite the likes of Candreva and Ederson possessing the ability to find a killer pass. Perea has been fed little in the way of meaningful service in a lone front role, so even below 100% fitness expect to see Klose after the break.
8.48pmDOUBLE SUB! Petkovic has decided not to waste any time in bringing on Klose, who replaces Ederson. Novaretti is also unable to continue after receiving treatment on a muscle strain at the break, with Michael Ciani on to provide defensive cover.
47 minA massive gamble on Klose's fitness then for Lazio as the second half gets underway, with Perea moved out to the left-hand side of three-man attack. Can the German veteran provide inspiration for the Aquile? We will find out shortly!
50 minMuch more like it from Candreva down the right, beating his marker to whip in a dangerous cross from the byline. Agazzi comes off his line quickly to punch clear, but that is the type of driving run that Lazio need from their inconsistent winger.
53 minYELLOW CARD! Just minutes after coming on Ciani picks up a silly caution after cynically hauling Ibarbo down on the halfway line. The central defender must now be very careful for more than 35 minutes, which must be a concern given Ibarbo's pace.
54 minThe gamble has paid off for Petkovic as Klose scores with almost his first touch since coming on. The forward talisman met a precise cross from Candreva with a composed header, planted into the far corner in trademark style. What a lift for the hosts.
55 minPENALTY TO LAZIO! Klose's contribution becomes even greater as he quickly wins a penalty for handball against Pisano. The defender definitely made contact with his arm to stop the forward driving inside, handing the Aquile a quick chance to respond.
58 minCandreva makes no mistake with a powerful penalty, hit just inside the post with confidence as Agazzi dives the wrong way. Lazio are now two goals to the good in double-quick time, what a change in fortunes at the Olimpico!
61 minSUBSTITUTION: Cagliari look stunned and react with their first change of the night. Sau is still working his way back to fitness and trudges off to be replaced on the hour mark, with Chilean international Mauricio Pinilla on to take his place.
64 minMISS! Somehow Lazio fail to score a third as Perea beats the offside trap to head against the far post. From the rebound Klose just has to pick his spot from six yards, but volleys wide with the goal gaping. A pair of quite incredible misses, which if converted would have put this game to bed without question.
67 minKlose is involved again but this time gets some rough treatment from his marker, as Rossetini gives the German a knee in the back. Thankfully for Lazio given his recent injury problems Klose gets back to his feet quickly.
70 minSUBSTITUTION: Cagliari make another change in search of creative spark, as Cabrera makes way for Cossu. Ibarbo has been starved of service since the break, as Lazio dictate possession and territory with a two-goal advantage.
73 minCagliari go within inches of reducing the deficit as Cossu's cross gets deflected towards the far post. Astori makes a late run towards the ball but just fails to make contact, with Lazio let off the hook after some complacent marking from a set piece.
76 minPetkovic is on the touchline urging his players to make a renewed effort to maintain their clean sheet, as Ibarbo cuts inside and gets caught by Anderson. Quite how the Brazilian avoids a booking for what is blatant trip is anyone's guess, but Cagliari at least have another dangerous set piece.
78 minCossu's free kick is a huge disappointment, going high towards the far post with no pace as Marchetti claims easily under little pressure. The visitors simply have to make more of those set piece opportunities given their plight.
81 minLazio settle into a sustained spell of possession as Biglia continues to keep things ticking over in central midfield by switching play. The Argentine is quick to commit a tactical foul when the hosts eventually lose the ball, fouling Cossu in his own half.
84 minIbarbo chases back to stop Anderson driving into the penalty area and starts a Cagliari counter, which fails to produce a telling pass as Ciani clears. That has been the story of their night in the final third, initial promise without end product.
87 minOnazi pushes Dessena to the floor and in the process gifts Caglari another free kick from 25 yards. Marchetti spills the free kick back out into a crowded penalty area, but Nainggolan rushes a poor effort that flies well wide of the far post despite having time to take a touch. Wasteful from the Belgian.
90 min+1It looks like that two minutes of madness will be enough for Lazio to earn three points as we head towards stoppage time. Cagliari are still pressing though as Pinilla wins a corner kick, with Conti heading wide from six yards when the cross comes in. A glorious opportunity for the Rossoblu skipper, who failed to find the target despite being completely unmarked.
9.40pmWell it was no by means pretty but Lazio have their first win in four attempts, much to the huge relief of Petkovic. The Serb has spent much of this week denying quit rumours but can now focus on the positives of a vital victory, which came about largely because of his decision to introduce Klose at the interval.
9.43pmThat victory lifts Lazio to seventh in Serie A, which on the face of it really does not represent the truly terrible start being talked about openly at the Olimpico. Ending a poor run of away form must now be Petkovic's top priority, ahead of Wednesday's trip to the San Siro to face AC Milan.
9.46pmLazio's win just about brings an end to our coverage from Serie A this weekend, with a team of the week to follow later this evening. Until that offering emerges I will bid you goodnight, thanks as always for your company.