The Estadio do Dragao offered up a feast of entertainment last week, with runaway Portuguese leaders Porto fighting back from a goal down — scored through Mattia Zaccagni for Lazio — to take a slender 2-1 advantage to the Eternal City, with a Toni Martinez brace shifting the momentum in his side’s favour.
Despite a disappointing Champions League group-stage campaign — finishing third which relegated them to this competition — and losing Luis Diaz in January to Liverpool, Sergio Conceicao’s men are oozing with confidence, as they’re currently unbeaten in their domestic league and have just beaten Lazio 2-1.
Of course, Maurizio Sarri will be determined to turn the tide and possibly win a competition that secured him his first piece of elite silverware, famously claiming the 2018/19 Europa League with Chelsea at the expense of Arsenal in an all-London affair that took place in Baku, Azerbaijan.
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Lazio vs Porto: Match Stats
Despite trailing on aggregate, Lazio can take some solace from Porto’s utterly dire Europa League record on the road. Incredibly, Dragoes are winless in seven away matches in the knockout rounds of this competition, losing each of their last three. What’s more, they’ve conceded two or more goals in each of those games.
So, Sarri will know his side have the capacity to wreak havoc in the final third if he sets out his stool correctly. In Ciro Immobile he has a master craftsman in opposition territory, and Luis Alberto, a cerebral playmaker who set up Zaccagni’s goal last week, and has registered five assists in six appearances across Europa League knockout games for Lazio.
Prior to last week’s tasty three-goal affair, these sides famously met in the UEFA Cup semi-finals nearly two decades ago. That 2002/03 season was the prelude to Jose Mourinho’s famous Champions League win in 2004, taking Lazio apart 4-1 on aggregate to reach the final and beat Martin O’Neill’s Celtic 3-2.