Siviglia sinks Atlanta as Lazio claim second win
ROME, September 24 (Serie A) - Lazio won their second game of the season thanks to a strike from former Atalanta defender Sebastiano Siviglia as they strive to overcome their match-fixing handicap.
The Romans' punishment was 11 points leaving them among the relegation candidates before a ball was kicked, and they started the new campaign with back-to-back defeats to AC Milan and Palermo.
But they followed up the midweek win over Chievo by overcoming a resilient Atalanta, for whom defeat was their first since being promoted from Serie B last season.
Atlanta were without three of their summer signings, Christian Vieri, Nelson Abeijon and Christiano Doni, while Moris Carrozzieri began his two-month ban as punishment for his involvement in the recent betting enquiry.
Lazio carved out the first of many chances in the 13th minute through Stefano Mauri who shot too close to Alex Calderoni in the visitors' goal.
Pasquale Foggia then should have turned home Tommaso Rocchi's cross, but his finish lacked power.
At the other end, Nicola Ventola had a glorious chance to give Atalanta the lead when he dribbled past Siviglia but shot too close to goalkeeper Marco Ballotta.
Mauri went close with a left-footed effort, before Calderoni made a remarkable double save to keep the score level at the break.
He palmed Guglielmo Stendardo's fierce shot back into the path of Tommaso Rocchi only for his follow-up to be turned round the post expertly.
The second half began with Lazio still looking the likelier to break the deadlock, although Mauri's wasteful afternoon continued when he dragged a shot wide when well placed.
Rocchi created a chance for substitute Stephen Makinwa shortly after which ended with the ball in the crowd.
An Atalanta counter-attack saw Adriano Ferreira Pinto free Luca Ariatti in front of goal, only for his hesitancy in front of goal to cost him when he was caught dawdling on the ball by Guglielmo Stendardo.
Massimo Oddo's free-kick found only Calderoni's gloves, but the goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Siviglia's winner when he met another Oddo free-kick with an emphatic finish.
The goal maintained their record of scoring in every game since February 26, although it was their defence that ensured that one goal would be enough for the second game running.
Ballotta, in for the injured Angelo Peruzzi, had to be alert twice in quick succession to close-range shots from Luca Ariatti and then Simone Loria as Atalanta pressed for a point.
And then deep into stoppage time, Ballotta saved Ventola's goal-bound strike to ensure that the points stayed in the Stadio Olimpico for Lazio's first home win of the season.