After creating history in the Europa League (EL) round-of-32 first leg,
FCSB will look to create another first when they visit Lazio.
The 1-0 defeat in the first leg was the culmination of an awful run of
four defeats in five games in all competitions for Lazio. Last weekend’s
2-0 win over Verona brought them back on track, but the hosts will be
wary of slipping up at home in Europe. With their top-four place in
Serie A (SA) still not secure, Lazio would be keen to keep their EL
The first leg was the first time in 14 meetings that FCSB have won
against an Italian team. However, their task is still enormous in Rome,
as they have never scored a goal on Italian soil!
Following four straight wins in the competition, Lazio lost momentum in
Europe, picking up just one point from their last three matches. But
with a trip to lowly Sassuolo in the pipeline for this weekend, the
hosts can afford to risk big names for this game.
FCSB are on a six-game unbeaten run (W4, D2) and have picked up three
wins in five European games (W3, D1, L1) on the road this season.
Key battles: Felipe Caicedo (Lazio) has three goals and two assists in
six EL matches.
Harlem Gnohere (FCSB) has four goals in six EL appearances, including
the first leg winner.
Stat attack: FCSB have failed to score in each of their seven away games
against Italian opposition.
The last two occasions Lazio lost 1-0 away in the first leg they have
progressed, although both of those ties took place 40 years ago!
Lazio have never featured in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
Against all odds, Lazio suffered a 1-0 loss to Steaua at Arena Nationala
in the first leg of the Europa League last 32. The Biancocelesti need to
record a big win over the Romanian side at their Stadio Olimpico if they
are to advance to the next round of the European competition and they
are likely to leave their hearts on the field in Thursday’s football
match. Top scorer Ciro Immobile is likely to return to the starting
line-up for the hosts and that is probably the main reason why we
predict the Serie A side will overcome the deficit. Yet another man to
watch in the home team will be Serbia superstar Sergej Milinkovic-Savic,
who is enjoying a season to remember. Steaua suffered a 2-0 loss to
Viktoria Plzen in their last away game in the Europa League and, taking
everything into account, they are unlikely to spoil Lazio’s party at
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