The chances of Lazio advancing to the semi finals of the Europa League are slim after a 2-0 defeat in Istanbul. The loss left an even more bitter taste for the Laziali as many of the decisive events were made by the Scottish referee. The red card on Onazi might have been justified, but the penalty given against Radu, resulting in the 1-0 goal, and a little later a free kick wrongfully given against Mauri resulted in two goals that made the tough task of progressing even harder.
Lazio come from a well played and well fought Derby della Capitale. The end result, a 1-1 draw, is flattering for Roma as Lazio had the upper hand after a magnificent strike by Hernanes. The same player later missed a penalty for Lazio and caused the penalty that allowed Totti to equalise.
In Europa League Lazio suffered their first defeat in Istanbul and Fenerbahce has given themselves a brilliant opportunity to advance. The Turkish side looked like having problems to create enough chances and had it not been for the two refereeing gifts the game looked like ending in a goalless draw. With 2-0 to build on Fenerbahce coach Kocaman will have the upper hand of course, but still has plenty of work to do before the tie is decided.
Petkovic is facing an even tougher challenge though. With the many games played this season his squad is steadily decreasing in size and for this clash Onazi and Mauri are both suspended. Both Radu and Gonzalez, left and right backs respectively, have been doubts until today. The latest reports include them in the starting eleven, but with the two aforementioned midfielders out some thorough thinking is needed for the Bosnian tactician.
The visitors will be able to field more or less the same eleven as in Istanbul, apart from striker Sow who has not travelled with the team to Rome. With names such as Kuyt, Meireles, Krasic, Ziegler and Webo the foreign influence is evident, but it is the home-grown players that have caught the attention of the international community. To replace the France born Senegalese striker Caner Erkin is expected to start, the same player was behind the 2-0 goal with a powerful free kick in the first leg. On the bench the Turks keep one of the gems of Turkish football, Salih Ucan, who is another player that have drawn much attention during the Europa League spell.
Lazio will have to go out with all the force their possibly is and try to get an early goal to build on. It is crucial that the team does not allow the opponents to create an early goal as this could potentially sink the team’s ambitions. A 2-0 win would be enough to bring the game to extra time, while a goal from the yellow-blue outfit would force Lazio to score four in order to advance.
It is worth remembering that the game will be played behind closed doors, so the home support will be absent. The Curva Nord will be outside the stadium to cheer for the team ahead of the game, but when the Check referee Kralovec starts the game it will be in a stadium with no spectators. Hopefully this referee will allow for the teams to fight this game out in a fair battle, rather than stepping in and deciding the tie for either side.
Lazio: Marchetti; Gonzalez, Biava, Cana, Radu; Candreva, Ledesma, Hernanes, Lulic; Ederson; Kozak.
Fenerbahce: Volkan Demirel; Gokhan Gonul, Egemen Korkmaz, Yobo, Ziegler; Mehmet Topal, Meireles; Kuyt , Cristian, Erkin; Webò