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UEFA Europa League
March 7, 2013
• Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Stuttgart
Referee: A. Tudor
• Attendance: 28750
O. Onazi 56'
That's all from me, Max Bentley on this Goal.com live commentary. These sides meet in the return leg at the Stadio Olimpico in a week's time with Stuttgart looking to overcome a two-goal deficit. Make sure to check out Goal.com's match report, reaction and player ratings. Thanks for joining me, good night.
Stuttgart's problems once again came to the fore this evening - a shakey, mistake-prone defence supported by a misfiring forward line. On this performance, it seems Bruno Labbadia's side may have to wait a while for another taste of European action.
FULL TIME: STUTTGART 0 - 2 LAZIO. Vladimir Petkovic's side seal a crucial away win with goals from Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi. The Italian side were good value for the victory although Shinji Okazaki may feel he could have contributed more for the hosts. That's now 11 European games unbeaten for the Biancocelesti as they put one foot into the quarter-finals.
90' + 3'
Federico Macheda's miserable evening comes to an end as the Lazio fan is replaced by Raphael Holzhauser. Perhaps the Austrian's aerial presence can cause a late problem.
90' + 3'
Stuttgart launch a ball deep into the Lazio box but Marchetti is there once again to pluck the ball out of the air. It seems the Italian shotstopper will emerge with his clean sheet intact.
90' + 2'
Arthur Boka has now joined the Stuttgart attack as the Swabians push forward in search of a goal back. Do they have one more attack in them?
90' + 1'
Tamas Hajnal looks to get Stuttgart on the scoresheet when he lines up an effort from distance, but the Hungarian's strike rises high over Marchetti's crossbar. Into four minutes of stoppage time.
LAZIO GO CLOSE! Senad Lulic does excellently to feed a reverse pass into the path of Floccari but the substitute's fiercely-struck effort is well parried by Ulreich.
Yellow Card Lorik Cana
Yellow Card Martin Harnik
Tempers flare when Lorik Cana and Martin Harnik get involved in a spot of pushing which sees several players get involved. The Romanian referee opts to book the duo and play continues.
Ibrahima Traore looks to snatch a consolation late on for the hosts but the Guinea international drags his shot from the edge of the box well wide of Marchetti's right-hand post.
Libor Kozak has enjoyed a solid performance up front but he will not add to his five-goal tally in the competition as he is replaced by Sergio Floccari.
GOOD SAVE FROM ULREICH! Senad Lulic nearly seals an emphatic victory for Lazio when he controls Candreva's arrowed pass brilliantly, but the Stuttgart goalkeeper is off his line in a flash to smother the Bosnian's dinked effort.
Stuttgart threaten when a long ball is lumped into the Lazio penalty area. Harnik glances a header back across goal but Okazaki's goalbound header is well saved by Marchetti.
Less than ten minutes remaining at the Mercedes-Benz Arena and Lazio seem to have this one in the bag. This 2-0 away victory should be enough to steer them into the quarter-finals unless we see a much-improved Stuttgart in the Italian capital.
Lazio are pressing Stuttgart excellently all over the pitch now and the German side just cannot link their passes together in the final third. Excellent work ethic from the Biancocelesti.
Ibrahima Traore wins a freekick right on the edge of the Lazio box and Hajnal steps up to execute the set-piece but his low effort is blocked by the wall before his rebound is safely gathered by Marchetti.
Lorik Cana has been a rock in the heart of the Lazio defence today and the Albanian produces a brilliant interception to prevent Macheda from latching onto Okazaki's slide pass.
IT SHOULD BE 3-0! Libor Kozak does brilliantly to bring down Gonzalez's cross on his chest before laying the ball off for the unmarked Candreva, only to see the Italian international snatch at his effort and blaze the ball high over the bar from the edge of the box.
Second change from Petkovic as Brazilian playmaker Hernanes is replaced by Uruguayan Alvaro Gonzalez.
Well, that's not going to work...The home fans urge Gentner to shoot from more than 30 yards and he obliges, only to see his effort quickly closed down by Onazi.
Lazio are happy to sit back and soak up this Stuttgart pressure at the moment. Can the Bundesliga outfit find a way to break their defence down? Twenty minutes remaining...
Stuttgart nearly snatch a bizarre consolation when Harnik's overhit cross towards the back post forces Marchetti to scramble across his goal and palm the ball over the crossbar.
Antonio Candreva has been one of Lazio's best performers tonight and he produces a neat piece of skill to fool Boka down the right, but his low cross is well intercepted by Rudiger.
Vladimir Petkovic looks to shore up the Lazio midfield as he replaces goalscorer Ederson with Argentine holding midfielder Cristian Ledesma.
STUTTGART GO CLOSE! Okazaki has proved a handful for the Lazio defence tonight and he does brilliantly to flick a ball over the head of Cana but his toe-poked effort trickles just wide of Marchetti's post.
Bruno Labbadia will be really disappointed by the manner in which his side have conceded twice this evening. Both goals were certainly preventable and can be accredited to defensive lapses...not that Lazio will care.
NEARLY 3-0! Candreva goes close to making it three when his vicious freekick is deflected just around the post by Sakai. That was a crucial touch from the Japanese defender as I don't think Ulreich was reaching that!
Goal Ogenyi Onazi
GOOALLL LAZZIOOOO!! Ogenyi Onazi scores his first goal for Lazio and it is all too easy! The 20-year-old Nigerian seizes on a loose ball on the half-way line, jinking past Gentner and Rudiger before casually chipping the ball past Ulreich and into the far corner. 2-0 and the quarter-finals beckon for Lazio!
William Kvist Jörgensen
Attacking change from Stuttgart as forward-thinking midfielder Martin Harnik replaces William Kvist. Precaution from Labbadia as the Dane is a caution away from suspension.
I have to admit, Federico Macheda has really struggled to make an impression up front against his boyhood club so far. Although in saying that, the service to him hasn't been much better either.
Hernanes plays an unorthodox set-piece towards the edge of the box and it is poked wide by the boot of Cana.
William Kvist runs into trouble when he is dispossessed by Kozak and the Czech striker plays a good pass out wide to Candreva, whose arrowed shot across goal is brilliantly blocked by Rudiger.
Yellow Card Serdar Tasci
Serdar Tasci is the first Stuttgart player in the referee's notebook after a mistimed tackle on Kozak.
Stuttgart have started the second half brightly but are just lacking that cutting edge in the final third as Marchetti comes out of his box to claim from two crosses into the box. The Italian shotstopper has been in superb form this season.
The second half is underway. Can Labbadia's half-time words inspire Stuttgart to a comeback?
Stuttgart have not won in their last four games against Serie A opposition since a 3-1 win against Perugia in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Do Stuttgart have the firepower to break through this impressive Lazio defence? Let me know your thoughts on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME: STUTTGART 0 - 1 LAZIO. A Stuttgart slip-up at the back ensures that Ederson's strike separates the sides at the break. Lazio also have Federico Marchetti to thank as he produced a wonderful save to deny Shinji Okazaki's bullet diving header although the Japanese international will certainly feel he should have been on the scoresheet after he spurned a glorious header minutes before the break. Stuttgart are certainly not out of it but they need to find a goal fast or they will have to rely on another away win to secure their progress to the quarter-finals.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Michael Ciani
Michael Ciani is cautioned for pushing in the box while Tamas Hajnal waits to take the freekick.
45' + 1'
Hajnal whips the freekick into the Lazio box but it is well cleared by the head of Bruno Pereirinha. That should it for the first half...
Stuttgart are ending the half with some good pressure and Cana is required to hack the ball away to prevent Okazaki from getting on the end of Hajnals cutback. Can they restore parity before the break? Time for one more chance!
WHAT A MISS FROM OKAZAKI! Lazio are nearly made to rue that miss instantly when Gentner delivers a superb cross from the left which Okazaki meets a few yards out, but the Japanese international somehow diverts his header the wrong side of the post.
Alexandru Iulian Maxim
It appears that Hernanes' challenge on Maxim was a little more serious than first imagined and the Romanian is replaced by Hungarian midfielder Tamas Hajnal.
LAZIO SHOULD SCORE! Moments after Gentner's shot is blocked on the edge of the Lazio box, the visitors launch a devastating counterattack with Candreva skipping past Sakai down the left and his inch-perfect cross picks out Ederson at the back post but the Brazilian's header into the ground bounces over the crossbar. The net really should have been bulging!
Yellow Card Hernanes
Hernanes is the first player to be cautioned after a mistimed aerial challenge on Alexandru Maxim. The Romanian is receiving some treatment but will be fine to continue.
Hernanes looks to extend Lazio's lead with a snapshot from the edge of the box but it is well blocked by Tasci. The Italians certainly look the more dangerous going forward.
It's not difficult to see why this Lazio defence is one of the best in the competition. Time and time again, their organisation and resilience has thwarted this Stuttgart attack. Bar that wonderful save from Okazaki's header, Marchetti has rarely been tested.
Lazio immediately counterattack down the other end and it takes a crucial interception from Rudiger to deflect Kozak's shot around the post. From the resulting corner, Cana meets Candreva's corner with a thumping header which flashes just wide of Ulreich's goal.
That would have been some goal! Alexandru Maxim embarks on a glorious, mazy dribble through the Lazio midfield but when he plays the ball to Okazaki, the Japanese forward cannot get his shot away and has the ball stolen off his toes.
First signs of frustration creeping in for the home side as Tasci and Lulic become involved in a spot of handbags. Can Stuttgart find an equaliser before the break?
Stuttgart have been having goalscoring problems all season and the absences of Ibisevic and Cacau will certainly not help their cause. Only four Bundesliga sides have managed fewer than Stuttgart's 26 goals in 24 matches so far this season.
Stuttgart look to find a quick response when Macheda flicks a cross into the Lazio box, but Rudiger can only volley over the top.
Stuttgart are looking a bit rattled after that strike and Ciani nearly doubles Lazio's lead when he connects with Candreva's corner, but the Frenchman's effort flashes high and wide of Ulreich's goal.
1-0 LAZIOOO!! Ederson is the goalscorer as he capitalises on some awful defending in the Stuttgart box from William Kvist and Arthur Boka to swivel and fire a powerful left-footed effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. No chance for Ulreich; crucial away goal for Lazio.
Assist Bruno Pereirinha
Lazio look dangerous when they attack down the wings and the Stuttgart defence stands firm to clear a series of crosses into the box.
This time the corner is a much better one and Marchetti is once again called upon to save from Tasci's header. Much better from the home side.
GREAT SAVE FROM MARCHETTI! Gentner does brilliantly loft a cross into the Lazio box where Shinji Okazaki comes surging in to meet the ball with a diving header, forcing the Lazio goalkeeper into a splendid one-handed save to palm the ball over the crossbar.
Stuttgart win the first corner of the game when Alexandru Maxim's mazy dribble is diverted behind. However, the resulting set-piece disappointingly fails to beat the first man and Lazio clear.
Antonio Candreva is seeing plenty of the ball in the early stages and he cuts in from the right flank only to see his left-footed long-range effort well blocked by Antonio Rudiger. Candreva is certainly capable of scoring from there.
Big chance for Nigerian youngster Ogenyi Onazi to impress today. The 20-year-old was impressive in Lazio's 0-0 away draw with Tottenham earlier in the competition.
Ederson causes problems in the Stuttgart box when he controls a long ball on his chest and just as the Brazilian is set to swivel and pull the trigger, Tasci gets a crucial foot on the ball to take it away from the Lazio man.
Christian Gentner does well to weave his way past two Lazio defenders down the left but his neat cutback is blazed high over the crossbar by Ibrahima Traore.
Lazio are slowly starting to come into this game now and Antonio Candreva will feel that Libor Kozak could have done more to get on the end of his teasing right-wing cross.
Senad Lulic makes a lungbusting run down the left wing for Lazio but the Bosnian is well tracked by Gotoku Sakai who does excellently to cut out his cross. Moments later, Ederson unleashes a shot from the edge of the box but it is comfortably gathered by Sven Ulreich.
In fact, Lazio have kept four successive clean sheets at home in the Europa League so the Swabians may well need to score tonight.
Stuttgart keep up their good spell of possession but have yet to seriously threaten this Lazio defence. Bruno Labbadia will know his side need to secure a first-leg advantage considering the Biancocelesti's formidable record at the Stadio Olimpico.
Confident start from the Germans with Arthur Boka looking to get forward early on with some bursts from left-back.
The Romanian official blows his whistle and Lazio get the ball rolling!
William Kvist is the only Stuttgart player one booking away from a suspension. Lorik Cana and Libor Kozak are a yellow away for Lazio.
A brilliant atmosphere at the Mercedes-Benz Arena with plenty of flags being waved by the home support. Captains Serdar Tasci and Stefan Radu lead the handshakes between the sides.
These sides did meet in a club friendly in July 2007. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Stefano Mauri and Alexander Farnerud. Who will emerge victorious today? Let me know your thoughts via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
Stuttgart are yet to win a European match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena this season. Can they end that run tonight against a Lazio side who are unbeaten in 10 European matches? Kickoff is under ten minutes away...
Libor Kozak starts up front for the Biancocelesti. The Czech striker has five goals in the competition and is second only to Napoli's Edinson Cavani.
With injuries to both the Reds' 13-goal strikers Vebad Ibisevic and Cacau, Federico Macheda makes his first start against his boyhood club. Can he score his first Stuttgart goal to provide Bruno Labbadia's side with a first-leg advantage?
LAZIO (3-5-1-1): Marchetti; Ciani, Cana, Radu; Pereirinha, Ederson, Onazi, Hernanes, Lulic; Candreva; Kozak.
STUTTGART (4-2-3-1): Ulreich; Sakai, Rudiger, Tasci, Boka; Kvist, Gentner; Okazaki, Maxim, Traoré; Macheda.
Without any further ado, here are tonight's lineups...
Stuttgart sealed their progress to the round of 16 courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate win over Belgian side Genk. Lazio overcame German opposition in the previous round when they ousted Borussia Monchengladbach 5-3.
Both Stuttgart and Lazio have been struggling domestically as of late with the German side winning just once in the Bundesliga this calendar year. Lazio have also seen their Scudetto chase all but finished with just two wins in their last eight Serie A matches.
The Europa League returns tonight with European giants Stuttgart and Lazio battling it out for a place in the quarter-finals. Tonight's match marks the first meeting in UEFA competition between the sides. Can Bruno Labbadia's Swabbians make the home advantage count or can Vladimir Petkovic's Biancocelesti extend their unbeaten European run to 11 games? Bringing you all the action from the first leg at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, my name is Max Bentley. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and predictions on this Europa League clash via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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