Lazio's hopes of remaining in the Serie A title race were damaged by a vibrant and adenturous Siena in a 4-0 thrashing in Tuscany today. Mattia Destro scored a brace for the hosts and Emanuele Calaio added two penalties while the visitors had goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri sent off at the end of the first half.
The victory moved Siena up to mid-table while fourth-placed Lazio could drop to seven points off the leaders if either AC Milan or Juventus win on Sunday. Lazio coach Edy Reja felt was so embarrassed by his team's performance that he apologised. "We didn't turn up, that was the worst performance since I came to Lazio," he told Sky.
"I want to say sorry to the fans and I take full responsibility. That today wasn't the same team that played very differently for the first half of the season. We conceded a goal without reacting and after the first penalty we sat back down and after it went to 3-0 we couldn't wait for the end of the game. I can't accept this kind of attitude but obviously I didn't work on the players' heads."
Siena coach Giuseppe Sannino suggested Lazio's players still thought they were on holiday. "Maybe Lazio weren't yet ready after the (winter) break, I'm not saying they made things easy but almost," he said. "We have to keep our feet on the ground, we've taken a step towards safety but we're still in a delicate situation."
The match was over by the break after Siena ripped Lazio apart on the counter-attack. Brazilian Angelo had a bright start on the right and was involved in setting up chances for Destro and Alessandro Gazzi, both of whom shot wide.
Lazio didn't heed the warning and fell behind when Destro surged forward from midfield and shot across Bizzarri on 11 minutes, although centre-back Giuseppe Biava was guilty of leaving a gaping hole for the forward to attack.
Djibril Cisse tried a speculative bicycle kick that went hopelessly high in a rare Lazio foray. Caliao shot wide after another swift Siena counter as he was set up by Franco Brienza. Lazio started to come back into the match and Albania midfielder Loik Cana brought a smart save out of goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo. Cisse then set up Giuseppe Sculli who seemed to lose his balance at the back post and sliced his shot woefully off target.
Again Lazio were made to pay as Brienza went down after trying to squeeze through a Marius Stankevicius and Lionel Scaloni sandwich. Calaio scored from spot on 35 minutes before Pegolo tipped headers from Cisse and Sculli around the post.
But on the stroke of half-time the game was effectively ended as Destro ran between Stankevicius and Senad Lulic, the pair letting him pass all too easily, perhaps wanting to avoid giving away another penalty. Destro dinked the ball over Bizzarri, who appeared to clip him with his foot.
The ball hit the post and Destro jumped up to slot home the loose ball except that the referee, perhaps somewhat prematurely, had already blown his whistle to give a penalty. Bizzarri was dismissed and Calaio sent his second penalty into the same spot as his first, with substitute goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo's first task being to pick the ball out of the net.
Destro rounded off the scoring nine minutes from time when he headed home Cristiano Del Grosso's cross.