Onazi’s Lazio Lose Fans To Protest

A near empty Stadio Olimpico as Lazio fans stay away in protest at club president Claudio Lotito for Sunday’s home match with Atalanta (1400 GMT) is heartbreaking, coach Edy Reja said on Saturday.
This of course is a trying time for Lazio, which parade Nigerian midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi.
Only around 2,000 tickets have been sold for the match, with season ticket holders taking part in a protest against Lotito organised by the hardcore “ultra” supporters who stand in the Curva Nord.
“It’s a great shame to hear that only 2,000 tickets have been sold”, Reja told the pre-match news conference.
“Having our fans close to us is so important, so to know that the Olimpico will be empty breaks my heart. There is no home advantage for the team if the crowd isn’t there.
“I hope that the protest finishes with this match, because we will need our fans if we want to achieve our goals”.
Lazio fans have been protesting against Lotito for weeks and held a march in Rome before last month’s 3-2 win against Sassuolo, which was attended by a hostile bumper crowd of over 40,000.
During the match fans held up banners calling Lotito the “stealer of dreams” and asking supporters in the upmarket Tribuna Monte Mario section to invade the directors’ box and kick their president out of the stadium.
Reja’s side are eighth in Serie A with 38 points, three behind Inter Milan in the last Europa League spot. They threw away a two-goal lead to be knocked out of this season’s competition by Ludogrets in February.
Their form has improved since Reja took over from Vladimir Petkovic at the start of the year but supporters are angry at a lack of investment in players and the sale of Brazilian midfielder Hernanes to Inter in the January transfer window.
In early February Lotito called a news conference in which he claimed he had received 50 death threats after the transfer, apparently taking a call from an angry fan while speaking to the media.


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