Tuesday May 23, 2017  
     
 
  06/04/2015: Coppa Italia Preview: Napoli - Lazio
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Lazio head to the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday to take on Napoli in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final. In Rome, the reverse fixture of this match was a 1-1 draw, the away goal for Napoli will have Lazio slightly on their heels as they will be the team with the pressure on them, Lazio enter the match knowing they must score a goal. This will not be an easy task, the Napoli defence are tight and limit their opponents to few opportunities. Napoli are coming off a 1-0 loss in Serie A to Roma, they pushed hard for the equaliser and should have made better of their opportunities, but it wasn’t to be. If they had equalized against Roma, Lazio would be sitting second in the Serie A table. Lazio enter this match with seven consecutive Serie A victories, the latest coming away to Cagliari by a score of 3-1. Lazio must have a better performance against Napoli, who are the defending Coppa Italia Champions, or they will be eliminated, it is as simple as that.

In net for Lazio we should see Marchetti, he played well against Cagliari, the Sau shot took a deflection off Mauricio and there was little he could do. In defence for Lazio, De Vrij will lead the group, we should see him paired once again with Mauricio, it is possible we may see Cana to provide support and rest. On the left side of defence it is unclear if Radu is fit to play, if not he will be replaced by Braafheid, he filled in admirably in the win against Cagliari. On the right hand side, we should see Pioli’s favoured Basta, he will need to rest at some point, which will make way for Cavanda, but it may not come until the Empoli match on the weekend.

In midfield for Lazio, we should see Parolo and Biglia in the deeper roles, with Stefano Mauri playing just in front of them, Mauri was taken off earlier than anticipated against Cagliari, certainly in anticipation of this match. On the wings for Lazio, we will see Felipe Anderson on the left and Candreva on the right, Candreva was also taken off early against Cagliari on Saturday and given some rest. Candreva will need to be at his best against Napoli, he needs to show his class. Anderson played the full match last time out but it was one of his weaker performances; he did however make a brilliant run down the right hand side that set up the first tap in goal for Klose. Lastly, Klose will lead the attack for Lazio, in order for him to be effective he needs to be part of the game from the early moments. It would be nice to see Keita pick up some more playing time, his speed and relentless attack is very noticeably and fun to watch.

This match for Lazio will be a true test, Napoli play well at home and they will not back down. The Coppa Italia is surely not the ultimate prize for Lazio, but Pioli will want to ensure the Biancocelesti reach the final. Napoli will be content to sit back and play for a goalless draw, they are aware of the situation, this means that Lazio must attack constantly and with speed in search of the first goal, and I fully expect them to do so. It is an absolute pleasure at this time in the season to be a Lazio fan, the team is playing full of confidence and all of the players are supporting each other, and the ultimate objectives of the group. If the right Lazio shows up on Wednesday, we can expect to be rewarded as fans with another Coppa Italia final, and what a treat that would be.

Forza Lazio!
Author: Michael Petricca
 
 
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