21st of February 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Serie A side Lazio are looking to overturn the first-leg deficit when they host Romanian vice-champions FCSB at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Thursday in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League first knockout round tie. The Romanian side won the first leg 1-0 last week in the first ever direct meeting between the two sides. Lazio have won just one of their five matches against Romanian teams in European competitions so far, while FCSB have ended a streak of thirteen matches without victory against Italian sides with last week's result.
Lazio are still the favourites to pull through to the next round, despite the 1-0 defeat in the first leg. Head coach Simone Inzaghi chose to rest a few of his first-team regulars last week but even so his side came very close to snatching a draw in Bucharest. On Monday Lazio finally put an end to a terrible streak of five matches without victory with a 2-0 win over Verona in Serie A, a result that should restore their confidence ahead of Thursday's clash. Luiz Felipe is suspended for this match, while Davide Di Gennaro remains injured.
FCSB recorded a historic result for the club last week as they had never defeated an Italian side in an European competition before. That result does not guarantee qualification, though, and pulling off a similar result in Rome seems quite unlikely. Last weekend FCSB had another intense match to play as they faced bitter rivals Dinamo Bucharest in a derby match that ended 2-2. Midfielder Mihai Pintilii is suspended for Thursday's match after having picked up a yellow card in the first leg.
Lazio: Strakosha - Bastos, Patric, Caceres - Basta, Murgia, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lukaku - Anderson, Caicedo
FCSB: Vlad - Benzar, Planic, Gaman, Morais - Nedelcu, Teixeira - Man, Budescu, F. Tanase - Gnohere
My prediction: Lazio to win 2-1.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Lazio win - 1.30
Draw - 5.50
FCSB win - 13.00
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Lazio left no chances to the Romanians in the rematch despite that 1-0 loss in the first leg.
The Italians having very nice season in Seria A and it would be curious if they would play full steam in this tournament or think mainly for that CL spot in Italy, but as of now it looks like they're determined to progress in this tournament too.
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