Lazio - Inter Preview: Outsiders for third place battle for Champions League football at the Stadio Olimpico
Both sides require a victory and other results to go in their favour as Serie A comes to a close if they are to play in Europe's premier club competition in 2012-13
By Adam Scime
Konko, Diakite, Biava, Scaloni
Gonzalez, LedesmaCandreva, Mauri, Lulic
Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo
Zanetti, Cambiasso, Guarin, Alvarez
Lazio continue to have a number of suspension and injury problems going into their final league match of the season.
The good news for coach Edy Reja is that Miroslav Klose, after making his comeback from a thigh problem as a substitute last week, is ready to start up ront. However, influential midfielders Hernanes and Matuzalem remain sidelined, as does versatile defender Stefan Radu and veteran striker Tommaso Rocchi.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri and defender Giuseppe Biava should be in for the suspended Federico Marchetti and Andre Dias respectively, barring successful late appeals.
Inter's major absentee is goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who is banned after picking up a booking in the 4-2 derby win over rivals AC Milan last weekend, so Luca Castellazzi will make his eighth appearance of the campaign between the sticks.
In-form Diego Milito is set to lead the line again and Walter Samuel, who penned a new one-year contract this week, is set to partner Lucio at centre-half.
Dejan Stankovic is out with an achilles problem and Joel Obi's presence is a doubt, while Wesley Sneijder is absent due to a slight muscular problem and Mauro Zarate has been left out as a tactical choice, meaning the recovered Andrea Poli or Giampaolo Pazzini will take the Dutchman's place in the starting XI.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Lazio have only won once in their last 16 games in Serie A versus the Nerazzurri.
- The Biancocelesti ended a five-match winless run with a 2-0 victory at Atalanta last weekend, with goals from Libor Kozak and Lorik Cana.
- The hosts need a victory and an Udinese lossto Catania to qualify for next season's Champions League.
- Inter have only lost one of eight matches under new coach Andrea Stramaccioni, winning five and drawing the other two.
- The visitors have only emerged victors in one of their last five away fixtures, and have an overall record of W7 D3 L8.
- The Nerazzurri can only qualify for the Champions League if they win, Napoli fail to win against Siena, and Udinese lose to Catania.
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Top 3 Predictions
Lazio 1-3 FC Internazionale
- 19.81 %
Lazio 1-2 FC Internazionale
- 12.83 %
Lazio 0-2 FC Internazionale
- 11.09 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 6, 2014||Lazio 1 - FC Internazionale 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 8, 2013||FC Internazionale 1 - Lazio 3|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 15, 2012||Lazio 1 - FC Internazionale 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 13, 2012||Lazio 3 - FC Internazionale 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 22, 2012||FC Internazionale 2 - Lazio 1|
|Mar 9, 2014||Lazio 0 - Atalanta 1||ITA1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Fiorentina 0 - Lazio 1||ITA1|
|Feb 27, 2014||PFC Ludogorets Razgrad 3 - Lazio 3||EL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Lazio 3 - Sassuolo 2||ITA1|
|Feb 20, 2014||Lazio 0 - PFC Ludogorets Razgrad 1||EL|
|-||Stephen Ayodele Makinwa||Striker|
|-||Iván Ramiro Córdoba||Defender|
Lazio have certainly missed the presence of the Germany international and his attacking instincts pitted against veterans Lucio and Samuel should prove an intriguing battle. If Klose can make the right runs, the Inter back four could revert to a shaky state as it has many times this season.
Since the turn of the calendar year, Milito has scored 20 of his 23 league goals, a total only shy of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Serie A. The Argentine veteran has come up with so many crucial strikes in a season of mixed results for the club and was at his clinical with his hat-trick versus Milan last week.
With both teams desperate for three points as they roll the dice for their final shot at Champions League football next season, you can count on plenty of chances and fireworks in Rome. The superior quality of a healthier Inter side should win out in the end, but it will probably be too little, too late for third place.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed