MX23RW : Thursday, August 5 13:52:57| >> :600:413145:413145:
Jul 11, 2020 at 4.15pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
Alberto (33')
Parolo (23'), Immobile (42'), Bastos (75'), Leiva (85')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Raspadori (52'), Caputo (90+1')
Muldur (51'), Ferrari (83')

Preview: Lazio vs. Sassuolo – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Lazio and Sassuolo, including team news and predicted lineups.

Lazio will be looking to keep their slim hopes of Serie A glory alive when they welcome Sassuolo to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.

Sassuolo, meanwhile, are outside contenders for a European spot following a particularly strong run of form since the Italian top flight returned to action.

Match preview

Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi pictured in November 2018© Reuters

Having been neck and neck with Juventus for the majority of the season before the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, Lazio fans would have no doubt believed that their side could be the ones to end the Old Lady's unparalleled dominance of the Italian football scene.

Juve's chances of securing their ninth title in a row were under serious threat until a couple of weeks ago, with Lazio drifting further away from Serie A glory after two successive losses to AC Milan and, most recently, relegation candidates Lecce on Tuesday.

Felipe Caicedo broke the deadlock after only five minutes for Simone Inzaghi's side in midweek, but Lecce hit back through Khouma Babacar and Fabio Lucioni to condemn Lazio to their third loss in five since the restart.

The challengers were unable to capitalise on Juve's 4-2 defeat to AC Milan and Lazio still lie seven points adrift of the champions after 31 matches, and it appears unlikely that Juve will relinquish their title now as they boast a healthy lead over Inzaghi's side with seven games remaining.

Lazio still have a fixture against the champions to contend with later in the month, but any more slip-ups for Inzaghi's men and the title race could already be done and dusted by the time the top two clubs lock horns.

Lazio's 3-0 loss to Milan last weekend was their first home defeat of the season, however, and I Biancocelesti have triumphed in 10 of their last 12 games on familiar territory.

Sassuolo attacker Jeremie Boga pictured in October 2019© Reuters

With regards to Sassuolo, I Neroverdi did their European hopes the world of good as they enjoyed their third win in succession with a hard fought 2-1 triumph over Bologna in midweek.

Musa Barrow's injury-time strike was a mere consolation for Bologna as goals from Domenico Berardi and Lukas Haraslin stretched Sassuolo's unbeaten run to five games in the Italian top flight.

Roberto De Zerbi's men now sit in eighth position - six points adrift of seventh-placed AC Milan - although Hellas Verona have the chance to leapfrog Sassuolo when they take on Inter Milan on Thursday evening.

Sassuolo enjoyed one stint in the Europa League during the 2016-17 campaign but finished rock bottom of their group that year, although a top-eight finish in the league would be a significant improvement on Sassuolo's bottom-half standings in the past three seasons.

The free-scoring Atalanta are the only other side that have tasted victory in their last three games in the top flight, and Sassuolo have only suffered defeat in three of their last 13 matches away from home.

Lazio took the spoils in the reverse fixture as I Biancocelesti enjoyed a 2-1 win in November - with Caicedo and Ciro Immobile netting either side of a Francesco Caputo strike.

Lazio Serie A form: WLWWLL

Sassuolo Serie A form: LDDWWW

Team News

Jeremie Boga pictured for Sassuolo in October 2019© Reuters

Lazio defender Luiz Felipe is likely to be handed his first start since February as he replaces the suspended Patric, who received his marching orders for inexplicably biting Lecce's Giulio Donati in the dying embers of Tuesday's game.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is also in line for a recall having started on the bench in midweek, with Jordan Lukaku and Danilo Cataldi also pushing for starting roles.

Caicedo and top scorer Immobile will continue to lead the line in the absence of the injured Joaquin Correa, while Adam Marusic and Senad Lulic remain on the treatment table.

Sassuolo will welcome back Filip Djuricic from a one-match suspension, and the Serbian is in contention to replace Gregoire Defrel behind Caputo.

Jeremie Boga is expected to feature from the first whistle having started on the bench against Bologna, but Pedro Obiang and Filippo Romagna are both injured.

De Zerbi could be reluctant to make too many changes given his side's strong run of form, but Georgios Kyriakopoulos and Gian Marco Ferrari may return in defence.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzarri, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Jony; Caicedo, Immobile

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Ferrari, Peluso, Kyriakopoulos; Locatelli, Magnanelli; Berardi, Djuricic, Boga; Caputo

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We say: Lazio 2-1 Sassuolo

Sassuolo should feel confident of earning at least a point against a Lazio side struggling for form at the moment, but Inzaghi's men will be out to make a statement following their previous two defeats and we expect the home side to scrape a narrow victory and keep the pressure on Juventus.

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Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi pictured in November 2018
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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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