Following the first five games of the 2011-12 season, S.S. Lazio had only managed to secure 8 points in Italy’s top flight and the notoriously fanatical support of the Biancocelesti were growing restless and letting the manager and players know all about it. Then came the Derby della Capitale on October 16.
Trailing 0-1 to their city rivals at half-time, Lazio roared back into contention in the second-half, scored a penalty early on and secured the win in the final minute of injury time to send the watching tifosi in to raptures. Three points were taken, the supporters and club united in glee and an important corner turned.
Fast-forward to the winter break and, after a four game unbeaten run in December, the club stands four points off the leaders with 30 points and is in the last 32 of European competition after finishing second in the group stages.
Since the league title was last secured in 1999-2000, it has been a difficult time for supporters of S.S. Lazio. The club has made it into Europe’s premier competition and won a couple of cup competitions, but has also seen great players leave which has unsettled the club.
This has been the difference this season, with a triumvirate of attackers all boasting different skills – a poacher, a speed merchant and a deep-lying central striker – a solid defence and a midfield full of cunning, the PUMA team has a settled, together, look about it which has resulted in a remarkable record on the road.
Put simply, Lazio are the best team in Italy away from home and one of the best in Europe. Unbeaten in seven games away from the capital with five wins and two draws, the club is also joint top scorers with 14 goals and has only conceded six at the grounds of opponents.
Remarkably, for a team with such vociferous support, Lazio’s home form has been patchy when compared with that imperious away record; the club having won three, drawn four and lost two.
With the team on an upward curve at the halfway point of the season and some attractive fixtures coming up in January, Lazio supporters will surely now be thinking that if the home form can improve and road trips continue to be such a success, then a top four finish will be the minimum they can expect. And as for the maximum? It’s time to start dreaming…