Lazio welcome Porto to Rome for the second leg of their play-off encounter for the Europa League knockouts, meeting at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday at 5.45pm (UK time).
Porto travel to the Eternal City with a slender 2-1 advantage, but Maurizio Sarri can take some comfort from Porto’s utterly abysmal Europa League record away from home. Incredibly, Dragoes are winless in seven matches on the road in the knockout rounds of this competition, losing each of their last three.
On top of that, they’ve conceded two or more goals in each of those games. Whether that presents Lazio with a psychological boost on Thursday remains to be seen, but they’ll believe the quality is in their squad to inflict another blot on that woeful record from the Portuguese giants.
Lazio vs Porto betting tips from Squawka Bet
Lazio team news vs Porto: Sarri bemoans Thursday nights
Sarri will remain sweating on the fitness of Ciro Immobile, who has missed the last two games — including the first leg of this clash — with a fever. The former Chelsea boss recently hit out at the demands of Europa League football, saying the added strain of Thursday nights is jeopardising his side’s chances of finishing in the top four of Serie A.
Speaking after his side’s draw with Udinese at the weekend, he said: “If we didn’t have these European commitments, we would already be challenging for a top four place.
“In the games not played straight after a Europa League match, our points average is that of a side in the Champions League places.
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“So far, we’ve shown this complete inability to play three days after the Europa League.”
He was without Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva, Francesco Acerbi and Manuel Lazzari for the trip to Udine, but welcomes back the former two who were serving domestic bans. First leg goalscorer Mattia Zaccagni, meanwhile, is suspended for this match, while Pedro came off injured on Sunday and is not expected to recover in time to take on Porto.
Predicted Lazio XI vs Porto:
- Strakosha; Marusic, Felipe, Patric, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas, A Anderson; Alberto, F Anderson, Cabral. (4-3-3).
Porto team news vs Lazio: Martinez will feel he deserves start
Wendell returns from suspension after he picked up a red card in the final group game of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, while Fernando Andrade and Wilson Manafa remain long-term absentees for the visitors. Toni Martinez, who netted a brace in the first leg, should return to the first team here as a reward for his goalscoring heroics last week, earning only a place on the bench in Sunday’s win over Moreirense.
Predicted Porto XI vs Lazio:
- Costa; Mario, Pepe, Mbemba, Sanusi; Otavio, Uribe, Grujic, Pepe; Vieira, Martinez. (4-4-2)