MILAN (AP) — Lazio’s misfiring forwards could take scoring tips from their goalkeeper as they aim to kick-start their Serie A season.
With Lazio trailing at home to Atletico Madrid in their Champions League opener on Tuesday, goalkeeper Ivan Provedel raced up to the other end and snatched a point for his side with a precise header in a dramatic equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
That was Lazio’s only goal from a remarkable 19 attempts.
“We found a solution eventually,” Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri said with a smile.
Sarri will need to find more concrete solutions — and fast — starting with Saturday’s league match against Monza.
Lazio, which finished runner-up in Serie A last season, currently languishes in 15th with just three points from its opening four matches.
The points came in a 2-1 win at defending champion Napoli. Lazio’s other matches were losses to Lecce, Genoa and Juventus.
“People claim we are struggling, but in the last three games we have faced Napoli, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, ending up with a win, a defeat and a draw,” Sarri said.
“I feel we played on level terms with three of the best teams in Europe. I am only dissatisfied with our first two matches of the season.”
Lazio has also scored just four goals in Serie A this season.
After Provedel was the unlikely scorer on Tuesday, he joked that he had been studying Lazio captain and star forward Ciro Immobile.
But perhaps it is Immobile who should be studying Provedel as the Italy forward has scored just once for Lazio this campaign.
Provedel actually started out as a striker before deciding to don the goalkeeper’s gloves at the age of 15, having long dreamed of making the switch.
He started off his senior career at Chievo Verona but spent almost the whole time there out on loan before moving to Empoli, and then Spezia, and joining Lazio in 2022 — where he kept 21 clean sheets in his debut season.
Tuesday’s goal wasn’t even his first in professional soccer as Provedel also scored a late equalizer for Juve Stabia — when on loan from Empoli — against Ascoli in Serie B three years ago.
But the Champions League is a much bigger stage, especially as the 29-year-old keeper was making his debut in the competition.
However, Provedel barely celebrated as he wheeled away after scoring. His face was expressionless as he ran before being surrounded by his incredulous teammates, who appeared much more excited.
“The feelings are lovely,” Provedel said. “But there’s little time to enjoy it, we’re playing on Saturday, we need to turn our Serie A campaign around, so I’ll enjoy it for a moment but then we move on.”
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer
Daniella Matar, The Associated Press