DAVID SMITH - Monday, January 30, 2012
Michael Bradley was in the starting lineup for Chievo's game against Lazio on Sunday, however a late collapse after his 74th minute exit saw a narrow deficit turn into an embarrassing home loss.
Brazilian midfielder Hernanes put Lazio up in the 21st minute, benefiting from Chievo's inability to clear the ball out of the area. A scramble eventually saw the ball roll to his foot on the right side of the six-yard box, and he reacted quickly to poke it over the line for the lead.
Lazio were perhaps wasteful with their few chances over the next hour, and while they were surely disappoint to have not increased their lead on several occasions, Chievo produced little on the attacking end to give any reason to believe they could overturn the one-goal deficit.
Head coach Giuseppe Meli sensed the team needed a change in their approach and pulled Bradley in the 74th minute in favor of Perparim Hetemaj - the first time the American had left a game early since joining the club.
The move did little to improve their attacking impetus, and they saw their final chance to pull off a shock result disappear with two minutes remaining when German veteran Miroslav Klose received the ball in the midfield and streaked into the box before hitting a low shot out of the keeper's reach that rolled in at the far post for 2-0.
One minute later, he added another for good measure, befuddling Chievo keeper Stefano Sorrentino with a low shot from outside the box to the lower left corner for his 11th goal of the season.
The Flying Donkeys drop into 12th place with the loss, however are still a comfortable eight points clear of the drop zone. They should be fairly confident of taking all three points when they visit last-place Novara on Thursday evening.