13th of February 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
The toughest clash of the UEFA Europa League evening takes place at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, where Serie A side Lazio take on LaLiga outfit Sevilla in the first leg of their last-32 tie. The two sides have never met before in an European competition, but both are quite familiar with such events. Lazio have faced Spanish teams on eighteen occasions and they managed to win five times, including the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup against Mallorca. Sevilla have won just three of their ten matches against Italian teams, and only one of them was away from home.
Lazio are dreaming of winning their second European trophy, after having lifted the Cup Winners' Cup in 1999. Since then they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup once and the quarter-finals on two occasions. This time seems quite difficult for them as well, since they are having their fair share of problems on the domestic front. They did recover from two consecutive defeats with 1-0 wins over Frosinone and Empoli, but they are down in seventh place in the Serie A table and the competition for the top six places will be fierce. Jordan Lukaku and Wallace are both injured, but Luiz Felipe should be able to make his return.
Sevilla are the most successful side in the history of the Europa League, taking no less than five trophies, but their last triumph was in 2016. Since then they tested their strength in the superior stages of the UEFA Champions League, but never managed to get past the quarter-finals. Their recent form has not been great, they have lost five of their last eight matches in all competitions and got knocked out of the Spanish Cup after a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Barcelona. Last week they ended a two-game losing streak with a 2-2 home defeat against Eibar, which allowed them to keep their fourth place in the league table. New signing Maximilian Wober is suspended for this match, while Aleix Vidal and Maxime Gonalons are injury doubts.
Lazio: Proto - Felipe, Radu, Acerbi - Romulo, Parolo, Leiva, Berisha, Durmisi - Correa, Alberto
Sevilla: Vaclik - Mercado, Amadou, Carrico - Navas, Banega, Mesa, Vazquez, Escudero - Yedder, Promes
My prediction: 1-1 draw, both teams have been suffering lately and they will do their best to avoid defeat.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Lazio win - 2.40
Draw - 3.40
Sevilla win - 3.20
20th of February 2019
21st of February 2019
Lazio started this season as good as they possibly could playing really decent football but as the season progresses their drop in form become more and more obvious I think.
The Spanish sides are always a threat in this tournament and what about a team winning it 3 times in a row in the last 5 seasons and 5 times in total!
So it's not been any kind of upset that 0-1 scoreline at the final of that first match and the Sevilla progress in the end.
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