Thursday night it is time for the return leg of the last qualifying round of the Europa League, a return game that for many are seen as a mere formality as Lazio managed to beat Mura 05 in Slovenia with 2-0 and will now have home advantage to finish the business. Since that game Lazio have opened the domestic season with an encouraging display away to Atalanta and with two wins out of two games, the season simply could not have started better for the team.
It was a rusty Lazio that showed slight uncertainty during the early stages of the first leg, but after Hernanes had opened the scoring with a magnificent shot it was all about Lazio. The hosts have struggled all through the current season, coming from yet another loss in the league making the tally one point in seven games, and there is very small chances they will be able to shake Lazio in the season opener at home.
During today’s training one could spot several chances in what is expected to be the starting eleven tomorrow. Lazio coach Petkovic will certainly be resting some of the players who featured in Bergamo and will have one eye on Sunday’s clash with Palermo. The formation 4-3-3 modified into a 4-1-4-1 will most certainly be preferred again, despite having some of the essential pieces on the sidelines in order to be fresh for round two of Serie A. Saying that, the indications in the Wednesday session point at Zarate and Rocchi, two names that many Lazio fans want to see on the pitch, will again be sidelined and the talks of both of them being on their way out has today intensified.
More than the game tomorrow, it is the end of the mercato that is being in focus. The latter two players are linked to moves out of Rome, as are Kozak, Floccari and Alfaro. The lack of activity in the summer transfer window has brought doubt into which players will be in the squad for the game on Sunday and if the game against Mura 05 was to indicate anything it is at a stay for Kozak, who is expected to start ahead of Klose.
Ticket prices have been reduced heavily in order to attract fans to the stadium, with a ticket in Curva Nord going for as little as €5. The season ticket sales are on an extreme low and in order to get the atmosphere around the team to become a little livelier the hopes are that the low prices will get people more interested to attend the game.
At 21.00 the game will kick off and the expectations on Lazio making it through to the group stage of the Europa League are massive and no one is airing any concern of this becoming a problem for the Italians. Mura 05 coach Frank Cifer stated in media that all games start off with the score line of 0-0, and that at least 90 minutes must be played before the result of tie is decided, but he also admitted advancing to the main tournament would be the largest achievement ever for his club.
Lazio: Marchetti, Scaloni, Biava, Dias, Cavanda, Ledesma, Candreva, Onazi, Gonzalez, Lulic, Kozak.
Mura 05: Drakovic, Cipot, Majer, Kramar, Janza, Sres, Horvat, Kouter, Marusko, Fajic, Eterovic.