MX23RW : Tuesday, January 26 18:19:07| >> :600:360836:360836:
Nov 21, 2020 at 2pm UK at Stadio Ezio Scida
CrotoneCrotone
0-2
LazioLazio

Rispoli (10'), Marrone (25'), Cuomo (56')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Immobile (21'), Correa (58')
Fares (26'), Parolo (45+1'), Leiva (86'), Alberto (90')

Preview: Crotone vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Crotone and Lazio, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Still mired in controversy, Lazio travel to bottom side Crotone on Saturday keen to make up lost ground on their main Serie A rivals.

Simone Inzaghi's men are currently ninth in the table as the club hierarchy have faced criticism over their unique approach to COVID-19 testing and, bizarrely, their mid-pandemic 'purchase' of a Boeing 737 aeroplane.


Match preview

Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi pictured on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Lazio went into the international break unbeaten in six games, during a challenging period which saw the club overwhelmed by a string of positive virus tests under UEFA administration.

Players subsequently sent into self-isolation then rapidly re-emerged for Serie A action, following the club's private testing regime - before once again registering a positive test ahead of midweek Champions League action.

The club then hit the back pages for apparently buying a private plane - prompting an uncharacteristically frosty response from midfielder Luis Alberto, who muttered publicly about players agreeing to reduced remuneration since football finances went into freefall.

However, it ultimately emerged that the plane was a 'gift' from Bulgarian firm Tayaranjet. In fact, the ex-Lufthansa liner was built in 1989 - retired in 2016 - and will merely be loaned to Lazio for free of charge in exchange for publicity.

Such a fanciful episode should have no bearing, however, on the Biancocelesti's build-up to what Inzaghi will consider a must-win encounter with goal-shy Crotone.

Having secured successive 1-1 draws with Zenit St Petersburg and Juventus a fortnight ago, Lazio appeared to be in the ascendancy after a troubled start to the campaign. Inzaghi's side have stemmed a worrying stream of losses – picking up two wins and a draw in the past three Serie A rounds, which sees them within touching distance of their main rivals, on 11 points.

Saturday's opponents Crotone stopped the rot of three successive defeats in league and cup - that Coppa Italia loss coming after a penalty shootout at Serie B side SPAL - by holding fellow strugglers Torino to a goalless draw just before the break.

The Rossoblu, like Lazio, managed a memorable 1-1 draw with champions Juventus earlier in the season, but that was to prove a rare bright spark amid a difficult opening to the campaign.

Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Coach Giovanni Stroppa was content with a first clean sheet of the season at Stadio Olimpico di Torino but must reflect on a tally of just six goals from his side's opening seven matches of what is sure to be a long and arduous relegation battle. Since 2000 only three of 13 newly-promoted Serie A sides have avoided relegation after failing to win any of their first seven league games - Crotone being one of them, back in 2016-17.

One of the few potent weapons available to Stroppa is one Simeon Tochukwu Nwanko, more commonly known as Simy. The Nigeria striker is having a relatively productive season, bearing the weight of Crotone's attacking threat on his shoulders, as he has scored half of the team's meagre total and often has a hand in setting up chances for teammates too.

The former Gil Vicente front man has scored 13 career goals in Serie A, closing in on becoming Crotone's top scorer in the Italian top-flight - he is currently tied with Diego Falcinelli.

Lazio's defence has hardly been unbreachable - the Biancocelesti have conceded in each of their last six matches, and 13 in total - so Simy may well feel confident of helping his team to a shock result on Saturday.

Crotone Serie A form: LLDLLD
Crotone form (all competitions): LDLDLD

Lazio Serie A form: LDLWDW
Lazio form (all competitions): WWDWDD


Team News

Lazio players celebrate Ciro Immobile's goal against Borussia Dortmund in October 2020© Reuters

Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, midfielder Lucas Leiva and star striker Ciro Immobile are now available as they end their quarantine period, so Strakosha takes over from deputy Pepe Reina in goal, while Felipe Caicedo - who covered Immobile's absence to spectacular effect by scoring successive stoppage-time goals before the break - will take a spot on the bench.

Unfortunately, though, star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic contracted COVID-19 while on Serbia duty so is self-isolating and Luis Alberto may be dropped for his controversial comments directed at the club ownership.

Crotone have Sebastiano Luperto suspended following his dismissal in the draw with Torino, while winger Salvatore Molina has not yet received the all-clear to return from quarantine and injury-plagued Ahmad Benali has sprained his ankle so misses out.

On-loan Arkadiusz Reca starts in midfield and - along with the hit-and-miss Junior Messias - will be expected to supply the bullets for star striker Simy to fire home.

Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Magallan, Marrone, Golemic; Pereira, Petriccione, Cigarini, Vulic, Reca; Messias, Simy

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Leiva, Parolo, Akpa Akpro, Fares; Correa, Immobile


SM words green background

We say: Crotone 1-2 Lazio

Expect Lazio to emerge from a tumultuous period with all guns blazing from the start, while Crotone will have to wait even longer for their first win of the season.

The club based in the ancient Greek settlement of Kroton are simply a tragedy-in-waiting, as their Roman counterparts - with chief weapon Ciro Immobile returning - have more than enough firepower to overwhelm their flimsy defences.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:curl

ID:422374:cQx

Who will win Saturday's Serie A clash between Crotone and Lazio?

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Lazio's Luis Alberto in action with Hellas Verona's Miguel Veloso on February 5, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan19134239221743
2Inter Milan19125245232241
3Roma1911444132937
4Atalanta BCAtalanta19106344232136
5Juventus18106237181936
6Lazio1910453226634
7Napoli18111641192234
8SassuoloSassuolo198653229330
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona198652518730
10Sampdoria198293029126
11BeneventoBenevento196492336-1322
12Fiorentina195682030-1021
13Bologna195592433-920
14SpeziaSpezia194692636-1018
15Genoa194691930-1118
16Udinese194692028-818
17CagliariCagliari1935112337-1414
18Torino192892837-914
19Parma1927101436-2213
20Crotone1933132243-2112

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