Porto will take a 2-1 lead to Italy on Thursday when they face Lazio in the second leg of the round-of-32 Europa league tie at 18:45 GMT.
Can Lazio Turn the Tie Around at Home?
Maurizio Sarri’s side were outclassed in Porto when they lost 2-1 in the first leg. With the changes to the “away goal” rule, the goal Lazio scored in Portugal does not have the impact it could have had had the rules not been changed.
At half time, Lazio are trailing by a single goal, and they will need a performance that reflects this position.
They are facing a seasoned opponent that typically goes deep into Europe’s premier competitions, including the Champions League. Sarri’s men will have to muster a disciplined performance to turn this fixture around in their favour.
Porto’s attacking threat poses a headache for Sarri who faces a need to attack to overturn the Portuguese side’s lead from the first leg.
Can Porto Maintain their Nerve to make it to the Round of 16?
Porto are in a good position heading into the second leg in Italy. They won 2-1 in the first leg and they looked comfortable.
Although they conceded a goal, it does not have the impact an away goal typically does before the change of rules.
Sérgio Conceição will back his side to give a performance that will keep Lazio at bay while posing an attacking threat at the Stadio Olimpico.
The threat facing Conceição is the risk of being too defensive and protecting their lead, which will invite a Lazio onslaught, and end up being counterproductive.
Although being gung-ho will not be the right approach, there will be a need for a balance between attack and defence to optimise their chances of qualifying at the expense of Lazio.
Domestically, Lazio are on a decent run of form. They are unbeaten in their last five matches. In this run, Sarri’s men have won three and drawn two matches. They have collected 11 points out of the available 15.
Maurizio will be looking to parlay this run of form into their fixture against Porto on Thursday to ensure that they can progress to the round of 16 of the Europa league.
Their home form has also been decent. Lazio have not lost at home in their last five Serie A rounds of fixtures. In this run, they have won two and drawn three matches. This shows that they are a hard side to beat at the Stadio Olimpico.
Domestically, Porto are unbeaten for the season so far. After 23 rounds of Primeira Liga, Porto have won 20 and drawn 3 matches.
They are currently on top of the table by six points ahead of their closest rivals Sporting CP.
Sérgio Conceição will be looking to extend this run into Europa. Their fine run of form was underscored in their 2-1 first leg win over Lazio at the Estadio Dragao. Porto will look to repeat the trick in Rome to progress to the round of 16.
Maurizio Sarri will be without right winger Pedro (ankle injury) for the clash against Porto.
Centre-forward Ciro Immobile is also a doubt with influenza. Right midfielder Manual Lazzari (hamstring) and defensive midfielder Patryk Dziczek (heart condition) are also unlikely to feature on Thursday.
Sérgio Conceição will be without Wilson Manafá; the 27-year-old right-back ruptured his patella in December, and is expected to rerun in May.
Striker Fernando Andrade did his cruciate ligament, and is also a doubt for the clash against Lazio in Rome.
Possible Starting Lineups
Strakosah; E. Hysaj, Patric, L. Felipe, A. Marusic; T. Basic, D. Cataldi, S. Milinkovic-Savic; M. Zaccagni, F. Anderson, Pedro
Costa; J.M., C. Mbemba, Pepe, Z. Sanusi; Otavio, M. Uribe, M. Grujic, Pepe; F. Vieira, T. Martinez
Players to Watch
The midfielder will be crucial for Sarri as Lazio will seek to control the midfield and establish a dominance and platform to beat Porto and overturn the first leg result.
The Spanish striker grabbed a brace in the first leg of this tie, and will be crucial again for the Primeira Liga side as they seek to complete the job in Rome.
Expect Lazio to be on the front foot and to try and pin back Porto. Porto will be disciplined and pragmatic in their approach, and will rely on transition attacks.
A draw is the most likely result for the second leg.
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