Lazio will aim to keep the pressure on Europa League Group E leaders Galatasaray when they travel to Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday night.
Maurizio Sarri’s men sit second in the section with five points to their name, while their winless Russian hosts sit rock bottom of the rankings
Lokomotiv Moscow managed to break Galatasaray’s defensive resistance on matchday four through Francois Kamano, but the Russian outfit were unable to get one over the group leaders and saw their winless run continue with a point in a 1-1 stalemate.
Kamano’s equaliser was the first goal that Galatasaray had conceded in the group stage, but the Turkish side had already struck through Sofiane Feghouli to dash Lokomotiv’s slim hopes of finishing top and securing an automatic route to the last 32.
Markus Gisdol’s side have taken just two points from a possible 12 so far and sit fourth in the standings – two adrift of Marseille and three behind Lazio – so a memorable success over their Italian counterparts would certainly throw the cat among the pigeons.
Not one side in Group E has become renowned for their goalscoring exploits in Europe, with Lokomotiv sitting on just two strikes from 360 minutes of football, but top scorers Lazio only have four to their name in the section.
Lokomotiv head into this contest on the back of a disappointing league defeat to Akhmat Grozny, though, and they are without a clean sheet in nine games in all competitions before Lazio seek to prolong their continental misery.
Having struggled to assert their dominance in Group E, Lazio’s hopes of an expected first-placed finish are hanging by a thread, and Maurizio Sarri’s side were forced to settle for a point against draw specialists Marseille on matchday four.
Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile cancelled out Arkadiusz Milik’s penalty to put Lazio two goals to the good, but the ever-reliable Dimitri Payet restored parity for Marseille in the 82nd minute to dent a serious blow to the Biancocelesti’s knockout hopes.
Lazio are three points behind group leaders Galatasaray in the only knockout spot – with their second-placed standing only good enough for the preliminary knockout round – so they will be hoping for Marseille to do them a favour against the Turkish side this week.
Sarri also witnessed his crop suffer a lowly league defeat at the weekend as Juventus ran out 2-0 winners in Saturday’s Serie A battle thanks to a pair of Leonardo Bonucci penalties, which was somewhat expected with no Immobile leading the line.
Lazio eased to a 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow when the sides met back in September, though, as Toma Basic and Patric put the tie to bed before the half-time whistle blew at the Stadio Olimpico.
Lokomotiv Moscow Europa League form:
Lokomotiv Moscow form (all competitions):
Lazio Europa League form:
Lazio form (all competitions):
We say: Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 Lazio
With no fewer than three creative midfielders absent for Lokomotiv, their chances of adding to a paltry two strikes in the Europa League are certainly slim against Sarri’s Lazio.
The visitors will also continue to struggle for attacking inspiration if Immobile is not deemed fit to feature from the start, but Lazio should still nick the odd goal to march to victory here.