Tomorrow is the return leg with Lazio in Rome in the Coppa Italia semifinals and a slightly snippy Mancio says he wants to win - "We won't be doing anyone any favours"
Lazio is in a bit of a spiral after having lost to Catania (1-0), Juve (5-2 Yikes), and Palermo (a more respectable 2-1). They have slipped to 13th place, and are only 6 points above the relegation zone. In league play Lazio have scored a healthy 43 goals but have allowed 50!
This compares quite favorably to our 65 scored with only 24 allowed (grazie JC!). By all statistics, we should be able to put this away. Unfortunately the calcio gods are not always familiar with these statistics. Inter and Lazio were in much the same position on the first leg of this match but we failed to beat Lazio's 43 year old keeper. It just goes to show, no matter how poorly a team may be playing, when they come against Inter, they pull out all the stops.
Lazio need this win. They need it so bad they can taste it. The final is at the Stadio Olimpico and likely against city rivals Roma - who they beat earlier in the season. If Lazio win the Coppa Italia, they will get to play in UEFA next year and the season will at least be somewhat salvaged.
We would like to win, of course, but the Scudetto is more important. This worries me. Please, Please, PLEASE lets not play the defensive poop we tried to pass of as calcio last Sunday. Inter must attack and control the midfield!
Mancio has called up practically the whole team with the addition of 6 Primavera players:
Goalkeepers: 1 Francesco Toldo, 12 Julio Cesar, 22 Paolo Orlandoni, 51 Vid Belec.
Defenders: 2 Ivan Ramiro Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Maxwell, 13 Maicon, 16 Nicolas Burdisso, 23 Marco Materazzi, 24 Nelson Rivas, 25 Walter Samuel, 26 Cristian Chivu, 40 Ivan Fatic, 47 Marco Filippini.
Midfielders: 5 Dejan Stankovic, 7 Luis Figo, 11 Luis Jimenez, 14 Patrick Vieira, 15 Olivier Dacourt, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 21 Santiago Solari, 28 Maniche, 30 Pelé, 31 Cesar, 36 Francesco Bolzoni, 43 Daniele Pedrelli.
Strikers: 9 Julio Ricardo Cruz, 18 Hernan Crespo, 29 David Suazo, 45 Mario Balotelli, 50 Luca Siligardi.
That is 32 players! Including Figo, Dacourt and Samuel ! Is Mancini just trying to be cagey and not tip his strategy to Delio Rossi? Clearly, no decisions have been made, which also worries me a bit. I like the guy and all, but he just seems to be shooting himself in the foot. Do you suppose there is some sort of clause in Mancini's contract where he gets more money if he is fired instead of quits?
Back to the game. I am usually wrong about formations (especially with so many to choose from), but Salvatore over at the Lazio board thinks it may be:
Maxwell, Rivas, Materazzi, Fatic
Solari, Bolzoni, Pele, Jimenez,
and that looks pretty good to me (thanks Salvatore!)
People to watch
Inter: Any of the Primavera players. With the possibility of a homegrown players rule in UEFA, we may be seeing quite a bit of these players next year. I still have my fingers crossed that Crespo will finally come through for us.
Lazio: Pandev and Rocchi are deadly when they are in form, and I have been impressed with Behrami this season.
Goal.com (read HACKS) are predicting a Lazio win but we all know how far they usually have their heads up their heinies.
I think it will end Inter 2 - 1 Lazio
The game is being broadcast on GolTV and RAI International, neither of which I have. I will either be looking for a half-way decent stream here or listening on Inter radio. The latter is in Italian only.
In other news, Dacort is training with the team again! Bien Venue Olivier! I am certainly happy to he him making a recovery.