Friday Mar 24, 2017  
     
 
  15/09/2015: Preview: Dnipro - Lazio
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Lazio head to the Ukraine to take on Dnipro in their long awaited return to European football. Dnipro are to be respected as they were finalists in last years Europa league competition and have aspirations of once again making a deep run into the competition. The most glaring advantage that Lazio will take into this match is that it will be played away behind closed doors. This is the result of the Dnipro fans invading the field in last years semi-final encounter against Napoli.

Dnipro are now seven matches played in the Ukrainian Premier League and sit in third place on 14 points with four wins, two draws and a loss thus far into the campaign. Only Dynamo and Shakhtar have superior records to Dnipro and are on 19 and 16 points in the table respectively.

Lazio enter this match coming off a Serie A win at home in Rome by a score of 2-0 against Udinese. This was a result that may seem routine but it was in fact far from it, Matri made the most of his debut and picked up a brace and was the difference in the match. Although the field at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome was waterlogged and very close to unplayable, there were notable concerns from Lazio's performance, particularly defensively. There were several instances in the match when Udinese should have taken advantage of good opportunities, one of the most obvious was a ball into the Lazio box that fell to Herteaux, he had five seconds of time until he took his shot and blasted it over the bar, had that been Icardi from Inter there would have been no doubt and Lazio would have been left scratching their heads trying to figure out the missed assignment.

Injury concerns still loom for Lazio, it was nice to see Marchetti back in goal against Udinese but unfortunately Biglia, De Vrij, Klose and Djordjevic will all still be unavailable. Look for Pioli to field a 4-2-3-1 formation as this allows him to maximize his personnel most efficiently, the 4-3-3 is more specific and the depth is not there especially when injuries are rampant.

With Napoli ahead on Sunday in Serie A it is hard to predict who the starting eleven will be for Lazio. Faces such as Onazi, Kishna and especially Anderson should pick up starting berths. Dnipro are perhaps not as strong as last year but are still a young a fast side. This is a great opportunity for Lazio to cement their return to Europe and lay the foundations for a deep run in the competition. Expect a hungry Lazio side that will attack aggressively, three points in the bank after week one of the competition will grant Lazio the confidence and belief that they need. Lazio will prevail.

Forza Lazio!

Author: Michael Petricca
 
 
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