Lazio will take on Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg at the Stadio Olimpico in the fourth round of the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, 24 November 2020.
Lazio scored a late equalizer to save a point in the first leg (1-1 draw) at the Gazprom Arena on 4 November, with Felipe Caicedo scoring another late goal for the Roman side.
However, only a few minutes later it seemed that the Russians would eventually snatch the three points when Andrey Mostovoy scored a stoppage time winner, which has been denied by the VAR.
Unbeaten halfway through the group stage, The Biancocelesti are second in Group F, collecting five points, while Zenit Saint Petersburg are still looking for their first win, having lost two of their three games thus far.
Lazio Betting Preview
All in all, Lazio are in the Champions League groups for the first time since 2007-08 and have a very decent opportunity to progress even further, especially if they get the better of the Russian champions in this one.
Even though they’re still outside the top-four (8th in the table, level on points with Atalanta), Lazio have taken a step into the right direction as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at last-placed Crotone on Saturday and the Roman Eagles will be keen to claim another good result when they face Zenit Saint Petersburg to resume their European quest.
With the latest result, Simone Inzaghi’s side now have 14 points in 8 Serie A games (4-2-2) but their domestic schedule (or more likely the level of their opponents) in the coming weeks looks really doable.
Indeed, Lazio will host Udinese next weekend, before their trip to Borussia Dortmund and then the Romans will face Spezia (away) before their last match in the Champions League group stage – home game against Club Brugge, which could be really decisive, particularly if Lazio don’t win this one.
Ciro Immobile has both scored and assisted in his first appearance since the 4-3 win at Torino three weeks ago, when the Italian international picked up an injury and missed the first leg against Zenit as a result. However, this time Immobile would be available and this is a huge boost for The Biancocelesti.
Immobile is one of the players who might have some personal reasons to regret for the postponement of the European Championship as the Italian striker enjoyed his best ever campaign, scoring 36 goals in 37 Serie A matches to earn his third Capocannoniere title (Serie A top scorer) and first European Golden Shoe award.
Simone Inzaghi is surely pleased that Lucas Leiva and Ciro Immobile returned to action for Lazio, but centre-back Luiz Felipe and midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic were ruled out due to positive covid tests, with first-choice goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and skipper Senad Lulic both injured.
It’s quite certain that Lazio would fancy their chances of winning here not only because they play at home, despite the absence of fans on the stands, but their squad was seriously hit by a coronavirus outbreak combined with an injury crisis earlier in the campaign and Simone Inzaghi can now call on some of his first-team figures who were unavailable for the trip to Saint Petersburg.
Zenit Saint Petersburg Betting Preview
Zenit, on the other hand (unlike Lazio’s weekend success), went ahead twice but dropped the lead in either case when they travelled to Chechnya’s capital Grozny to face Akhmat in the domestic Premier League on Saturday.
However, considering CSKA Moscow’s wrong step and their 1-1 home draw with Sochi on Sunday, the distance between the reigning champions and rivals CSKA is just one point.
Zenit Saint Petersburg kicked-off their Champions League campaign with back-to-back defeats to Club Brugge (2-1 at home) and Borussia Dortmund (2-0 away), and the missed opportunity to beat Lazio can eventually cost them a lot, as the Russians must not drop any more points if they want to advance to the Champions League last-16.
All in all, Zenit have won just one of their last seven games in the Champions League, losing five of them and they’re also winless in six Champions League away games – since a 2-0 victory at Lyon in November 2015 – losing five of them as well.
Starting in central midfield, Douglas Santos assisted twice for Zenit’s 2-2 draw at Akhmat Grozny over the weekend and the Brazilian could once again feature alongside Wilmar Barrios in the middle of the park.
Former Barcelona forward Malcom came off the bench in the closing part of the game to record first minutes since early-October, yet the Brazilian couldn’t make any difference, but could start in Rome.
Sebastián Driussi and Sardar Azmoun are also following individual training schedules following injuries and the pair was unavailable over the weekend, yet the Sergei Semak will hope to have either of them available for the journey to Rome.
Daniil Krugovoy’s coronavirus test came back inconclusive and he was ruled out of the weekend round so it’s yet to be seen whether he’ll travel with the group for Italy or he’ll have to self-isolate.
Former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, who scored his second goal for the Saint Petersburg side over the weekend, quickly became one of the pivotal figures in Sergei Semak’s selection and the Croatian is one of the few who have started in all 15 Russian Premier League games, as well as in all three Champions League games so far.
Despite a controversial video that dropped him out of the Russian national team during the recent international break, experienced forward Artem Dzyuba was a sure starter for Zenit again, particularly when fellow striker Sardar Azmoun is ruled out.
Even though he has scored just once in his last 11 appearances for club and country, Dzuyba’s presence is really important and he also assisted for Aleksandr Erokhin’s goal in the first leg against Lazio.
Possible Starting Lineups of Lazio and Zenit St Petersburg
Lazio: Pepe Reina – Francesco Acerbi, Stefan Radu, Patric – Mohamed Fares, Lucas Leiva, Luis Alberto, Marco Parolo, Manuel Lazzari – Ciro Immobile, Joaquin Correa. (3-5-2)
Zenit St Petersburg: Mikhail Kerzhakov – Vyacheslav Karavaev, Dejan Lovren, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Yuri Zhirkov – Wilmar Barrios, Douglas Santos – Daler Kuzyaev, Aleksandr Erokhin, Malcom – Artem Dzyuba. (4-2-3-1)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Some would underestimate the nature of Lazio’s 2-0 win over a struggling rock-bottom Crotone side over the weekend, but let’s admit it – it’s always more difficult than expected when you face a side that hopes to avoid relegation and has nothing to lose. Moreover, the game came right after the international break, was played in awful weather conditions (rainstorm and flooding) and the Roman Eagles were efficient enough to secure the whole set of points and save some of their effort for the important Champions League clash in midweek.
Lazio are -110 favorites to win their second home match since they’ve returned to Europe’s elite competition and also considering Zenit’s poor away form, we’re backing the Italian side here.
Spooky Express Free Play: Lazio -110 @ BetOnline for 6/10 Units