Created on 26-04-2008 at 00:00 AM
Lucio and fellow centre-half Martin Demichelis were outstanding in Thursday's meeting with St Petersburg, all but shutting out top striker Pavel Pogrebnyak. Lucio reacted faster than his opponent on 60 minutes too, beating him to Viktor Fajsulin's drive from the left. "It wasn't a cross, it was a shot," commented Ottmar Hitzfeld, but Luico's brave effort to head the ball out for a throw ended in disaster, as the ball sailed across Olli Kahn and into the corner of the net to make the score 1-1.
"He was down," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reported from the dressing room afterwards. Added Bastian Schweinsteiger: "He takes this kind of thing to heart.“ However, no-one blamed the Brazil captain. "It wasn't an error. It was basically driven straight at him," opined Rummenigge, describing the player's overall display as "outstanding“. The 29-year-old had been "unable to do a great deal at that moment," said Ottmar Hitzfeld, "we shouldn't have allowed the player so much space to start with.“
The towering defender spent the remaining 30 minutes desperately trying to make amends for his moment of misfortune, striding forward at every opportunity and ending up with six shots at the opposing goal, more than any other player on the night.
He came closest to a goal at the right end of the park on 79 minutes with a 20-yard thunderbolt, only for St. Petersburg keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev to pull out a breathtaking stop. "For his sake, I was willing it to go in, but the keeper's made a world-class save. It couldn't have been a better shot, nor a better save," commented Rummenigge, "the own goal was unlucky, and the shot not going in was doubly unlucky.“
Fired up for VfB
The Bayern camp is certain Lucio will swiftly move on from an unhappy Thursday. "He's experienced enough to put it behind him. I hope he picks himself up and starts again with a clean slate," argued Rummenigge. Hitzfeld agreed: "Lucio will do well on Sunday.“
"I'm a fighter,“ the player himself declared, "I'm looking to the future.“ The Brazilian is sure to be especially fired up against VfB Stuttgart, not simply because of his own goal against St. Petersburg, but also because of a red card collected in the reverse fixture away to VfB. Lucio has one or two things to put straight on Sunday.