UEFA Europa League Preview: Lokomotiv Moscow vs Lazio

Lazio take on Lokomotiv Moscow at the RZD Arena in Matchday 5 of the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League Group Stage.

In their first head-to-head meeting in the Group Stage, Lazio won 2-0. Prior to the aforementioned match, the clubs had previously only met back in the Semi-Finals of the 1998/99 edition of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, where both fixtures ended in draws.

As it stands in Group E following four rounds, Lazio sit in second place with five points (1W-2D-1L) while Lokomotiv sit in fourth place with two points (0W-2D-2L).

Lokomotiv Moscow Team News & Expected Starting Lineup

Lokomotiv have a record of 6W-7D-2L (21 points) and sit in fourth place in the Russian Premier League.

In their recent league match against Akhmat Grozny, Lokomotiv lost 2-1 as they were down a man for more than half of the match. The Loko’s controlled the pace of the match and had the bulk of chances in the first half-hour. However, in the 34th minute, Murilo Cerqueira picked up a red card as he prevented Artyom Arkhipov from a clear scoring attempt and was the last man. On the ensuing play, Daniil Utkin scored from a free-kick and gave the visitors the lead. In the 58th minute, Artem Polyarus extended the lead to 2-0 as the midfielder delivered a beautiful shot from outside the box that was out of reach for Lokomotiv goalkeeper, Guilherme. Lokomotiv managed to score in the 65th minute as Vitali Lisakovic cut the deficit to one but that was as close as they would get as they were not able to score a second goal.

Concerning absences, Stanislav Magkeev, Faustino Anjorin, Guilherme, Ze Luis, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, and Anton Miranchuk are the players that will be unavailable to Markus Gisdol for this fixture.

Expected Starting Lineup

(4-3-3): Guilherme; Dmitri Zhivoglyadov, Dmitri Barinov, Pablo, Dmitri Rybchinsky; Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Konstantin Maradishvili, Daniil Kulikov, Alexis Beka Beka; Fedor Smolov, Vitaly Lisakovich.

Player to Watch

Lokomotiv will aim to get their first win in the Group Stage versus Lazio. The club has scored two goals in four matches while conceding five. Fedor Smolov has been productive in the Russian League as he has seven goals in 12 matches. The forward has started 11 of those 12 fixtures and has been their most efficient player this season. However, he has only found the back of the net in one of his last eight appearances in all competitions.

Lazio Team News & Expected Starting Lineup

Lazio have a record of 3W-2D-1L (10 points) and sit in sixth place in Serie A.

In their recent league match against Juventus, they lost 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico. Lazio conceded a penalty in each half and Leonardo Bonucci converted on both occasions. It was a difficult fixture for the home side, who had to try and challenge without their talisman Ciro Immobile as he was out due to an injury. The Bianconeri defended well versus the Biancocelesti as they limited them to just one shot on target. The loss ended Lazio’s 19 game unbeaten run at the Stadio Olimpico in Serie A.

Concerning absences, Adam Marusic is still sidelined due to COVID-19. Furthermore, all three of ImmobilePedro, and Felipe Anderson are questionable due to injury, so Maurizio Sarri will have to tread carefully concerning the usage of these players in this fixture.

Expected Starting Lineup

(4-3-3): Thomas Strakosha; Manuel Lazzari, Luiz Felipe, Francesco Acerbi, Elseid Hysaj; Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva, Toma Basic; Felipe Anderson, Ciro Immobile, Mattia Zaccagni.

Player to Watch

Lazio are in need of a win to remain in contention to finish first in the Europa League Group Stage. It will be a difficult task on Thursday with Immobile expected to miss the match, however, Mattia Zaccagni could be making a consecutive start for the Biancocelesti for the first time this year and will be heavily relied upon. It has been a difficult start to the season for the Italian, who despite arriving with high expectations, has had a setback due to two injuries. He has only appeared in seven matches across all competitions for a total of 302 minutes. With very few options available up front, Zaccagni will have the opportunity to prove himself to Sarri. The forward has the ability to be a difference-maker and score key goals as he did so often in his time with Hellas Verona.

Match Prediction

Lazio are currently unbeaten in their past three matches in the Europa League. Both sides are currently dealing with significant injuries and will be relying on their bench and depth players to step up. Expect Sarri’s men to come out strong after a frustrating defeat to Juventus this past weekend and to have a strong performance in front of a boisterous crowd that will not have their fans in attendance due to Covid restrictions.

  • Lazio 2-1 Lokomotiv Moscow
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