Catania vs. Lazio, final score 3-1: Catania dominate in first win of 2014

Maurizio Lagana

Catania are out of the bottom three for the first time since Week 8, thanks to an inspired performance against a listless Lazio side.

For the first time this season, Catania looked like a side that might stay up, finally resembling the team that finished eighth last season while playing some fun football. The elefanti put three beautiful goals past a rather confused Lazio side, handing Edy Reja his first loss since his return to the bench. His counterpart, Rolando Maran, will be ecstatic, as that's four in a row unbeaten for Catania, who may have just saved themselves from relegation.

Less than sixty seconds passed before Catania put their first goal past Etrit Berisha. Mariano Izco got on the end of a cross from Lucas Castro, volleying it off the post and into the back of the net. It was a fantastic start, but the match soon started to dull, with the hosts allowing Lazio possession, but closing down their attacks.

Lazio, for their part, had no idea how to get past the elefanti. Miroslav Klose was getting no service, having to drop back to get even a touch on the ball. Meanwhile, Catania threatened every so often, keeping Lazio on their toes with quick breaks.

It looked like Catania would take their lead into halftime when the biancocelesti put in an equalizer. Konko got up the right to put in a cross, Stefano Mauri got his head on it, and somehow Mariano Andujar was unable to keep the ball out. It was a great return for the Lazio captain, who'd just finished a six month suspension for his involvement in Italy's most recent match-fixing scandal.

With Reja at the helm, Lazio must've thought the game was in the bag - they'd at least make it out of Sicily with a point. Instead Catania took the lead almost immediately after the restart. Lazio foolishly allowed Francesco Lodi the opportunity to take a free kick, and of course he sent in a perfect cross. The ball found Nicolás Spolli alone on the far post, the defender diving to put it past Berisha.

Reja's side continued to look lost, leaving huge spaces for Catania to launch their counterattacks. It took just twen minutes for Catania to put in their third. Gino Peruzzi recovered the ball in Catania's half, taking it past three Lazio players before getting into the box. The young Argentine then played a one-two with Keko, receiving the ball back to tap in from close range.

After the third goal, Lazio still had over thirty minutes to try and grab something from the match, but they seemed entirely out of ideas. Introducing Keita Baldé and Brayan Perea provided more bodies up front, but it didn't change anything substantially. Reja will need to dig deeper if he wants to keep dragging his side back up the table.

Catania: Andujar; Peruzzi, Spolli, Bellusci, Alvarez; Izco, Lodi (Plasil 82'), Rinaudo; Barrientos (Keko 15'), Bergessio, Castro (Rolin)

Goals: Izco 1', Spolli 48', Peruzzi 58'

Lazio: Berisha, Konko, Biava (Perea 71'), Dias, Radu, Biglia (Gonzales 46'), Ledesma, Candreva, Mauri (Keita 71'), Lulić, Klose

Goals: Mauri 45'

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