Francesco Guidolin’s Bologna played host to Dino Zoff’s entertaining Lazio in week 22 of the 2000-01 Serie A campaign. Zoff’s star-studded side made the trip north to the Emilia-Romagna capital in fine form—Lazio hadn’t tasted defeat since a week 13 defeat at the hands of Napoli and were on an eight-game unbeaten streak.
As for the hosts, they were having somewhat of an inconstant season. In the weeks leading up the Lazio clash, Guidolin’s side had recorded an impressive 3-3 draw with Milan and had defeated Napoli 2-1 before Reggina put them to the sword in week 21.Bologna flew out of the traps, hoping to surprise their guests and hot favourites. Some neat play between Alessando Gamberini and Enzo Maresca in the fourth minute brought out the best in Lazio goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani, who threw himself to his right to keep the scores level. However, just moments later Machegiani was beaten all ends up. Bologna number ten Beppe Signori cut inside and let fly with his wand of a left foot, only for his effort to come crashing back of the crossbar.It was like the Alamo at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. As Bologna poured forward, Marchegiani was putting in a display his coach would have been proud of. If it wasn’t for him, Bologna would have been out of site; a string of fine saves kept the hosts at bay, the pick of the bunch a point blank stop from Francisco Lima.
As the concerned Zoff looked on, Bologna eventually took a deserved lead. A quick corner caught the Lazio defence sleeping and Enzo Maresca found Carlo Nervo at the back post. Nervo’s unorthodox effort creeped past the diving Marchegiani.
It was relentless from Bologna in the opening 20 minutes with Signori at the heart of every move. Marchegiani finally got a bit of respite as Lazio had their first real attempt on goal at the end of the first half. A Sinisa Mihajlovic effort from all of 35 yards couldn’t get the beating of Gianluca Pagliuca, who pushed the free kick wide with ease.
Lazio would begin the second half with ten men as a moment of madness from Portuguese defender Fernando Couto would see him given his marching orders right on half time. The second half was much the same as the first: one-way traffic in the way of the hosts. Bologna were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Lima flew down the Bologna left flank, getting the better of Paolo Negro, who appeared to hack down the Brazilian just inside the penalty area.
Despite the heroic performance of Marchegiani, his error on the 76th minute allowed Signori to score arguably his easiest goal of the season. The Bologna forward was all of 40 yards out still with a defender to beat, but the Lazio custodian had a moment of madness, flying out of his goal into no-man’s land and allowing Signori to simply pass the ball past him into the empty net, giving Guidolin’s side a well-deserved two-goal lead and wrapping up all three points.
2-0 was very nearly three as the Bologna captain connected beautifully with his left foot, only to see his volley kept out by the Lazio number one. And, as the game drew to a close, Marchegiani once again pulled off saves for fun, keeping the score at a respectable 2-0 in what was arguably Bologna’s best performance of the season and possibly Lazio’s worst.
The sides meet again this Sunday night at the Renato Dall’Ara. Lazio will be in high spirits after their Derby della Capitale victory over Roma in midweek. As for Bologna they’ve failed to win in six now, and Roberto Donadoni will be hoping that changes this weekend.