The European adventure continues and for Lazio it might be what is needed to gain some confidence back. The results in the league have been far from impressive lately with Lazio picking up a total of two points in the three matches. In Europe a 1-0 win and a 3-3 draw give Lazio a good position for the coming rounds and with two straight games against Apollon Limassol. At 19.00 CET the game will kick off in Tsirion Stadium and with the tight group where Lazio and Trabozonspor share the first spot with four points each and Apollon trailing by only one point the two legs against Apollon will be decisive for the future of the Italian side in the Europa League.
The Cypriots will be looking at becoming the first team ever from their country to beat an Italian opponent. In 20 games between teams from the two countries four draws and 16 wins for the Italian teams show the massive advantage Lazio will have in this regard. However, Apollon became the first team ever from Cyprus to win in Poland when beating Legia Warsaw in the previous round and will be hoping for a similar achievemnt this round.
The Lazio side travelling will have to live without two of theor most played players, Candreva and Lulic. The former has caught the flu while the latter is having muscular problems. Returning from absence is Radu who might be an option for the left back, else Petkovic has great concerns on how to balance his team.
Voices in Rome as well as amongst our members on the forum is airing a growing discontent with the players and the management. Against Fiorentina and Atalanta Lazio manged very few quality attempts at the opponents’ goal, showing a lack of an idea of what to do with the ball when in possesion. Before the Tuesday training Hernanes was targetted by supporters asking for an improvement and this needs to come as early as tomorrow for Lazio to get back to winning ways.
Petkovic has been opting for the youngsters in recent games, despite Perea, Anderson, Keita and Onazi failing at delivering convincing performances. Perea did get his first goa lever for the Romans against Atalanta, but in the end it counted for nothing as the game was lost in the dying minutes of the game. It remains to be seen whether more experienced players such as Ledesma, Gonzalez, Ederson and Floccari will be chosen to guarantee a bot more stability, or if the gambling will continue.
Domestically the Cypriotic league might not be as competetive as the Italian, but in Europe the Cypriotic teams are doing better and better. Apollon is surely one of the stronger sides from the island nation, manifested not only by them advancing to the Europa League group stages by beating Nice, but also due to the current results in the league campaign. Apollon are in second place with 15 points out of six games and competing with Famagusta over the top spot.
Lazio, on the other hand, are far from the team that competed for Champions League football a few seasons ago. Currently in ninth place and a massive 13 points behind league leaders and antagonists Roma. Currently ranked 47th in the UEFA ranking Lazio on paper look like a clear favourite against Apollon, ranked 243rd, but with the current form and the fact Lazio will have to travel to an away game in the middle of a mini-crisis this will be far from an easy game to win for the Romans.
Line-ups to follow…