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Dec 9, 2021 at 8pm UK

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

:Headline: Preview: Lazio vs. Galatasaray - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Lazio and Galatasaray, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With first place in Europa League Group E yet to be decided, second-placed Lazio prepare to welcome group leaders Galatasaray to the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

Nothing less than a win will do for Maurizio Sarri's side, who sit three points below their visitors heading into the final matchday.

Match preview

Despite failing to assert their dominance over Galatasaray or a dogged Marseille outfit, a pair of routine wins over Lokomotiv Moscow means that Lazio's fate is still in their own hands, with Sarri's men easing to a 3-0 win over the Russian outfit on matchday five.

Ciro Immobile returned from injury in time to tuck away two penalties before Pedro made sure of the result with three minutes remaining, and the Biancocelesti would also make the net ripple three times in a comfortable 3-1 success over Sampdoria on Sunday.

Such a result was the ideal way for Lazio to respond to shipping four goals in back-to-back games versus Udinese and Napoli, but the inconsistent Biancocelesti know the task at hand this week, as only a win will do for them to seal automatic progress to the knockout rounds.

Lazio have now gone unbeaten in four Europa League games and have kept clean sheets in three of their last four in Group E - while they are yet to concede a continental goal at home this term - but a rampant Galatasaray are in no mood to lose their grip on first place now.

Still yet to suffer defeat in the 2021-22 Europa League group stage and boasting 11 points from a possible 15, Galatasaray have navigated the tightly-fought section with aplomb and will progress as group winners with just one point at the Stadio Olimpico.

Fatih Terim's side were in ruthless form when Marseille paid a visit to Istanbul on matchday five - running out 4-2 winners on the day - but their domestic fortunes have taken a nosedive as they head into this contest on the back of a fourth consecutive Super Lig game without a win.

A record of just two wins from their last 10 games away from home in all competitions is hardly encouraging either - including two draws and a defeat from their last three - and their three away games in the Europa League so far have seen a mere three goals scored.

However, Galatasaray's first meeting with Lazio on the opening way was a joyous occasion for those in Istanbul, as Thomas Strakosha's freak own goal handed the Turkish giants a 1-0 win, and they have not let up since.

Lazio Europa League form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Lazio form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Galatasaray Europa League form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Galatasaray form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Lazio's luckless talisman Immobile had to be withdrawn at half time in the win over Sampdoria after a knee complaint, and Sarri revealed that the Italian was in "a lot of pain" following the knock.

It remains to be seen if Immobile will be passed fit for this game, but Vedat Muriqi is on standby, and the hosts remain without Bobby Adekanye due to a meniscus injury.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's sending off at the weekend means nothing for this game, but Patric is back from a ban of his own, and Mattia Zaccagni ought to hold his place on the left over Felipe Anderson after setting up two goals in the Sampdoria win.

As for Galatasaray, ever-present midfield lynchpin Alexandru Cicaldau will be absent after testing positive for coronavirus, while the duo of Sacha Boey and Omer Bayram are also out of contention.

Olimpiu Morutan could deputise in Terim's 4-1-4-1 with Cicaldau in isolation, while Mostafa Mohamed, Mbaye Diagne and Halil Dervisoglu are all battling to spearhead the attack.

First-choice goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is one booking away from incurring a suspension, but Terim will not consider dropping his skipper while first place is not yet assured.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Patric, Felipe, Acerbi, Hysaj; Basic, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic; Pedro, Muriqi, Zaccagni

Galatasaray possible starting lineup:
Muslera; Yedlin, Nelsson, Marcao, Van Aanholt; Antalyali; Feghouli, Kutlu, Morutan, Akturkoglu; Dervisoglu

We say: Lazio 1-1 Galatasaray

The absence of Cicaldau for Galatasaray and potential loss of Immobile for Lazio are bitter blows to both sides, and the Biancocelesti have been far from consistent in league and continental action this term.

Terim's men also struggle to get over the line away from home, but if star man Immobile misses out as expected, we have confidence in Galatasaray's ability to claim a draw and cement their position atop the group.

Top 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:data

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