UEFA Europa League: Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv preview

Serie A side Lazio have another Eastern European clash in the UEFA Europa League as they prepare to host Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kyiv at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Thursday for the first leg of their last-sixteen tie. The two teams have met just twice before, it happened in the group stage of the Champions League in 1999 and Lazio won 2-1 at home and 1-0 in Kyiv. Moreover, Lazio have lost just one of their ten European matches against teams from Ukraine, while Dynamo Kyiv won just two of their 22 matches against Italian teams.

Lazio are having a pretty good season so far, but they might just miss out on every target. Last week they missed out on the Italian Cup final after losing against AC Milan on penalties and then on Saturday they lost 1-0 at home to Juventus in Serie A due to a last-gasp goal from Paulo Dybala. That result dropped them to fourth place in the league table, and with Inter just one point behind in 5th spot, Lazio could easily miss out on a top-four league finish as well. The Europa League should become more and more important for head coach Simone Inzaghi and his men under these circumstances.

Dynamo Kyiv had a very tough tie in the first knockout round of this season's Europa League, they faced Greek side AEK Athens and pulled through on away goals after a 1-1 draw in Greece and a goalless draw at home. They had a fairly easy group before that and the won it ahead of Partizan, Young Boys and Skenderbeu, so Lazio will be their first major test in this season's Europa League campaign. On the domestic front, they have beaten Zorya Luhansk 3-2 last weekend but they are still six points behind leaders Shakhtar Donetsk in the league table. Georgi Bushchan, Serhiy Sydorchuk and Vladyslav Kalitvintsev are injured and won't play in Thursday's match.

Probable line-ups:

Lazio: Strakosha - Patric, De Vrij, Felipe - Basta, Parolo, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic - Anderson - Immobile

Dynamo: Boyko - Kedziora, Khacheridi, Kadar, Morozyuk - Garmash, Shepelev, Buyalskyi - Gonzalez, Moraes, Tsygankov

My prediction: Lazio to win 2-0.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Lazio win - 1.39
Draw - 4.75
Dynamo win - 9.50

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