Tuesday Aug 22, 2017  
     
 
  14/01/2015: Coppa Italia Preview: Torino - Lazio
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Lazio head to Torino for a round of 16 Coppa Italia tie. Lazio are coming off a 2-2 draw to Roma in the week 18 derby match. Torino are also coming off a draw against AC Milan, thanks to a late Kamil Glik equalizer. In fairness to Milan, De Sciglio was booked twice and sent off as a result, forcing Milan to play nearly half the match with 10 men on the field.

Given the slew of injuries and suspensions to Lazio, we are likely to see a very different side than we are used to. In addition to that, I have to believe that Pioli is looking ahead to Napoli and Sunday, a loss to them would be devastating for Lazio in the fight for Champions League football, especially considering Napoli is a direct rival for the final spot.

Berisha should start in net, he needs the playing time going into Sunday against Napoli, Marchetti is suspended due to his yellow card against Roma and will not be able to play in the week 19 Serie A fixture. The extent of the injury to De Vrij is not known and he will surely not be risked. Cavanda and Novaretti may all feature in the Lazio defence against Torino. Basta and Radu may play but are unlikely to get a full match.

In midfield for Lazio, Parolo, Biglia and Candreva will most likely be spared and not see much match time, if any at all. Candreva, of any of them could play in order to help him regain full match fitness coming off his injury, he needs to be better Sunday against Napoli. I expect to see Ledesma feature for Lazio against Torino.

Up front, Klose should start for Lazio and get the full match, if he plays well, that should be enough to earn him a start on Sunday against Napoli. Keita Balde should start this match and will need to show what he is capable of. Had Mauri's legs felt ok after his full match against Roma, he could have started here. Mauri is Lazio's captain and leadership will be required. I would like to have seen Mauri coming out and calming the storm for this different group and be the leader that he is for Lazio, as he was impressive against Roma. Lotito is right; Lazio's captain is class, he is much better than taking a selfie and posting it to his instagram account after a goal. Cataldi here? Why not, there is no better opportunity than now and he needs playing time, providing he is healthy.

This is an interesting match for Lazio as it will test their depth and diversity. I believe that they are deep enough when they are fully fit for their second string of players to take this match. That is not the case here, Lazio are ravaged by injuries and Pioli will be forced to play several players with a lack of game time, familiarity with each other and understanding of the speed and tactics of Italian football week in and week out. This will be a tough match for Lazio to win, the Coppa Italia is important, but finishing higher in Serie A takes precedence. Good luck boys, go get them!
Author: Michael Petricca
 
 
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