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Played
December 3, 2010 7:45 PM GMT
Stadio Olimpico — Roma
Referee:‬ D. Orsato‎
Attendance:‬ 39710‎
 
Goran Pandev 74′
 
89′ Hernanes
 

Serie A Preview: Lazio - Inter

Both sides are challenging for the Scudetto and a defeat for either could dent their aspirations...

By Subhankar Mondal

Hernanes - Lazio-Catania - Serie A (Getty Images)
Going Level With Milan

With Milan not playing until Saturday evening, Lazio have the chance to go level on points with the Rossoneri tonight at the top of the table in Serie A. Currently stationed in second place with 27 points from 14 matches, Edy Reja's side have recovered from their blip in form earlier last month in which they suffered two successive defeats.

The Aquile are unbeaten in their last four competitive fixtures during which they have qualified for the fifth round of the Coppa Italia. However, the former Italian champions have drawn their last two league encounters 1-1 and need to improve their performance tonight.

Lazio have lost just once at the Stadio Olimpico this season and that was the Rome derby defeat to Roma. Having won four of the other six league matches, the Biancocelesti will be basking in hope and optimism tonight. Indeed, Reja is confident of bagging maximum points against Inter.

"It's an important game considering the table and who we play," said Reja. "Inter come off the back of two good games and they have rediscovered the faith. They are a great team, but we must play the perfect game.

"I hope we have the focus and intelligence, and we need to find the right moment to hit them."

Carrying On With Recovery Process


Inter are not out of their crisis yet but they are gradually inching towards the sun. Having won their last two competitive fixtures, Rafael Benitez's side appear to have staved off the rot and with a berth in the second round of the Champions League already secured, they will try to restore things in Serie A.

At the moment the Italian and European champions are fifth in the league standings with 23 points from 14 matches, seven points behind leaders and cityrivals Milan. Last weekend the Beneamata limped to a 5-2 victory over Parma but it owed more to fortune and the visitors' lack of finishing than to Inter's grace.

Nevertheless, the Nerazzurri will have just one target in their sight and that is to defeat Lazio tonight and close the gap on Milan. Inter's form away from home is modest as they have won three and lost two of the league matches on the road and have scored just six goals in the process.

TEAM NEWS

Lazio

Mourad Meghni, Alberto Quadri and Javier Garrido are injured and will miss the visit of Inter to Rome. Edy Reja will field Mauro Zarate, Hernanes and Sergio Floccari right from the start in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Inter

Benitez will be without the services of Philippe Coutinho, Cristian Chivu, MacDonald Mariga, Julio Cesar, Diego Milito, Maicon, Joel Obi, Walter Samuel, David Suazo and Mancini. Added to this is the fact that striker Samuel Eto'o is suspended.

The Inter tactician will employ a 4-3-2-1 formation that will have Goran Pandev as the lone striker and Wesley Sneijder and Jonathan Biabiany as the two creative midfielders behind him.

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Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25Néstor Muslera MicolGoalkeeper
26Stephan LichtsteinerDefender
20Giuseppe BiavaDefender
3Andrè DiasDefender
26Stefan RaduDefender
32Cristian BrocchiMidfielder
27MatuzalemMidfielder
-HernanesMidfielder
6Stefano MauriMidfielder
9Mauro ZárateStriker
99Sergio FloccariStriker
32Tommaso BerniGoalkeeper
39Luis CavandaDefender
21Modibo DiakiteDefender
27Libor KozákStriker
24Cristian LedesmaMidfielder
9Tommaso RocchiStriker
23Mark BrescianoMidfielder
12Luca CastellazziGoalkeeper
33LúcioDefender
-Iván Ramiro CórdobaDefender
4Javier ZanettiDefender
-Felice NatalinoDefender
10Dejan StankovicMidfielder
4Sulley MuntariMidfielder
10Wesley SneijderMidfielder
19Esteban CambiassoMidfielder
19Goran PandevStriker
7Jonathan BiabianyStriker
-Paolo OrlandoniGoalkeeper
23Marco MaterazziDefender
-Simone BenedettiDefender
-Nwankwo ObiorahMidfielder
8Thiago MottaMidfielder
-Denis AlibecStriker
3Davide SantonDefender
Players to Watch
Hernanes
Hernanes
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
10 1 1 0
Hernanes will be Lazio's creator-in-chief tonight and his skills and vision will be massively important for the Aquile. Inter's defence has crumbled more often than not this season and the Brazilian playmaker will be the first to take advantage of this. The 25-year-old has been in excellent form for the Roman side and his movements as well as passes will help to stretch the Inter centre-backs and force them to commit mistakes.
Esteban Cambiasso
Esteban Cambiasso
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 19
Games Goals YC RC
28 4 3 0
Esteban Cambiasso will be a key player for Inter in the midfield, the area where the match will be won or lost. The Argentina international's role in the middle of the pitch is more defensive than offensive and the former Real Madrid medio will be crucial in anchoring the midfield as well pushing his team forward.
Probable Lineups
Néstor Muslera Micol 25
Stephan Lichtsteiner 26
Giuseppe Biava 20
Andrè Dias 3
Stefan Radu 26
Cristian Brocchi 32
Matuzalem 27
Hernanes 0
Stefano Mauri 6
Mauro Zárate 9
Sergio Floccari 99
Luca Castellazzi 12
Lúcio 33
Iván Ramiro Córdoba 0
Javier Zanetti 4
Felice Natalino 0
Dejan Stankovic 10
Sulley Muntari 4
Wesley Sneijder 10
Esteban Cambiasso 19
Goran Pandev 19
Jonathan Biabiany 7
Prediction
Lazio will head into the game with wind beneath their wings but they should be wary of Inter's recent positive results. The Beneamata have won their last two competitive games and will not be easy pushovers. It will be a fiercely competitive game of football and should end in a draw.
Editor's Prediction
Lazio 1
Inter 1
Results
 
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