Sunday May 28, 2017  
     
 
  05/11/2015: Preview: Rosenborg - Lazio
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Lazio have made the trip to Trondheim in Norway to face off against Rosenborg tonight in the Europa League. A win will leave Lazio needing a maximum of one point to qualify with two games remaining in the group stage, but with the Derby della Capitale on the horizon, a win is anything but certain, especially as Stefano Pioli has made it clear that he has a real lack of interest in this game.

Our manager may have abandoned his game-by-game approach to focus on turning around our Serie A form with a Derby win, but he still has to assemble a team and look somewhat interested as he freezes his bits off on a cold Norwegian night. Lucas Biglia, Felipe Anderson, Miroslav Klose and Federico Marchetti have been spared from the trip, enabling to put their feet up with a warm cup of hot chocolate and think about the Giallorossi. Marco Parolo also remains in Rome as he is not yet ready to train fully, though he's in with a shot of making the squad for the Derby.

Keita Balde Diao returns from injury and has made the trip, with the manager perhaps looking to give the forward some vital minutes. The 20 year-old may even be in line for a start on Sunday afternoon as Antonio Candreva's form has been patchy, not to mention that he was caught on camera at the week making a less than helpful remark about his manager's tactical proficiency. The Italian international is expected to start tonight, but it may have already been decided that the Roman will give the Rome Derby a miss. Time will tell.

Pioli's claim that he would spend this week focusing on Roma suggested that we could see a complete turnover in terms of who played against Milan, who plays tonight and who plays the Derby, but it's not possible in reality. Mauricio is suspended following his sending off against Rosenborg a fortnight ago, and as has been well-documented, Stefan de Vrij faces months on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee operation. That leaves Lazio wafer thin in defence, especially as the manager neglected to take Franjo Prce to Norway, and it almost guarantees starts for Wesley Hoedt and Santiago Gentiletti. Stefan Radu would have been an option but for the manager's decision not to register Edson Braafheid and Patric in the Europa League squad. With that in mind, Radu almost certainly features at left-back while Abdoulay Konko is expected to get the nod over Basta.

Ogenyi Onazi and Danilo Cataldi are expected to begin in the centre of the park with Ravel Morrison rumoured to be in line for his full debut, but there's room for some experiments here with Chris Ikonomidis and Alessandro Murgia summoned. If the Englishman does indeed make the line-up, he is likely to assume the trequartista role and be flanked by Candreva and Ricardo Kishna., with Filip Djordjevic expected to lead the line. At the other end, Etrit Berisha is expected to start.

As for Rosenborg, they have the Norwegian championship sewn up and have spent the week working out how to exact revenge for what happened in Rome. Nobody would've expected them to come away with three points away from home, but given the circumstances, it was a little embarrassing for them. Expect them to be fired up for this one, particularly as they have a fair chance of qualifying if they can put three points on the board.

All in all, Lazio have enough quality to win this one, but surely not enough quality to run away with it. It is difficult to know what to expect from a team who are in an unusual position of looking further down the road beyond what lies ahead, but this should be a fun game and the possibility of seeing youngsters make their debuts gives it some intrigue. Forza Lazio!

Author: Cathal Mullan
 
 
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