S.S. Lazio got their UEFA Champions League Group G campaign off to a perfect start at the Inönü stadium in Istanbul as goals in each half from Jaap Stam and Stefano Fiore gave them a comfortable victory against Turkish champions Besiktas JK.
Stam struck eight minutes before the break after the Italian side had seen off a spirited Besiktas threat in the early stages, before Fiore made sure of the points 13 minutes from time to cap a masterly defensive display from Roberto Mancini's side.
Besiktas coach Mircea Lucescu was without the injured Ahmet Dursun but the Turkish international Ilhan Mansiz was fit to start, having played his first match since knee surgery in the weekend win against Malatyaspor. Mancini's greatest concern was in defence, with both Sinisa Mihajlovic and César injured. Fernando Couto and Massimo Oddo came in and, alongside Stam and Giuseppe Favalli, shut down the Turkish side.
The Lazio defence was, however, given a rough ride in the early stages as Besiktas pressed from the outset, backed by a typically vocal home support. It was Lazio, however, who created the first meaningful chance, Óscar Córdoba diving low to his left to save Fiore's fierce drive.
Besiktas hit back soon after, Federico Giunti latching on to a loose ball in the box on 13 minutes and striking powerfully only for Angelo Peruzzi to come off his line and block brilliantly with his legs. Neither side, however, could seize control in midfield and both were largely reduced to shots from distance.
Lazio in front
A scrappy half littered with fouls was heading towards a goalless conclusion when, somewhat unexpectedly, Lazio struck on 37 minutes. From Fiore's corner on the left, Stam, hitherto a tower of strength in the Lazio defence, made his presence felt up front, heading in unchallenged at the near post.
Tümer comes close
It was a rare lapse in the home defence and Besiktas responded manfully to the setback, Tümer Metin drawing another stunning save from Peruzzi on 41 minutes from a low free-kick. The pressure continued, but like the home side's early burst, Lazio saw out the danger and arrived at the break without conceding.
Besiktas were slow to start after the interval as Lazio looked to hold possession, but the threat was there on 48 minutes when Tümer cushioned a header down into the path of Daniel Pancu who shot powerfully from the edge of the area but wide.
Lucescu made a double substitution on 58 minutes with Tümer making way for Ahmed Hassan while Sergen Yalçin replaced a tiring Ilhan. Initially, however, it was Lazio who benefited as Fiore began to find more of the ball in midfield.
On 66 minutes Sergen curled a free-kick on goal that Peruzzi punched over, but Besiktas were losing their momentum. On the turn, Sinan Kaloglu nearly provided the inspiration to get the home side back in to the match, but the substitute saw his curling shot bounce back off the bar and again the danger for Lazio was averted.
Fiore makes sure
Seconds later, on 77 minutes, the game was put beyond doubt as Fiore struck Lazio's second. On the break the midfield player saw his low cross bounce back to him off Ronaldo Guiaro and, from a tight angle, he fired powerfully into the net to make sure of the points.
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