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May 23, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
SassuoloSassuolo
2-0
LazioLazio
Kiriakopoulos (10'), Berardi (78' pen.)
Kiriakopoulos (50'), De Zerbi (90')
Kiriakopoulos (61')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Parolo (90+3')

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

:Headline: Preview: Sassuolo vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Sassuolo and Lazio, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Serie A's final round brings together sixth-placed Lazio and European hopefuls Sassuolo on Sunday evening, at the Mapei Stadium.

With Europa League qualification already sewn up, the Biancocelesti have only pride left to play for, while their hosts must win to contend for a spot in UEFA's new Conference League.


Match preview

After Lazio's faint hopes of a top-four finish were ultimately ended with Derby della Capitale defeat earlier this month, only the prestige of finishing Rome's top side this term - plus sealing a return to continental football - can be claimed as major positives from an inconsistent campaign.

Simone Inzaghi's side are now destined to end the season sixth in the standings - regardless of results during the final round - and have somewhat limped to the finish line.

Rome Derby disappointment aside, the Aquile have also lost to Fiorentina and drawn with Torino of late - both sides toiling at the wrong end of Serie A - with the latter result bringing to an end their supreme run of success in home games, which had stood at 12 consecutive league games.

It has often been a different story on the road, as Lazio have lost six of their last eight away matches in the league, including the last three: the last time the club recorded four consecutive away defeats was back in 2015.

Notably, having missed a potentially decisive penalty in the midweek draw with the Granata, Euro 2020-bound striker Ciro Immobile has scored only seven Serie A goals in the second half of the season - by contrast, he netted 16 during the same spell on the way to becoming last year's Capocannoniere and European Golden Boot. In all, Lazio's attack has been the least prolific of the top eight sides in the table - behind even their final-week hosts.

A former penalty-box poacher himself, Inzaghi appears set to stay put in the Biancocelesti's dugout next season - though several other clubs have apparently expressed an interest - so next season he will seek to engineer a return to the free-scoring ways of the 2019-20 campaign, if Lazio are to return to the elite.

Determined to leave on a high, Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi last week confirmed he had informed both the club and his players that he will leave for pastures new in the summer.

Amid persistent reports of a deal being in place with Shakhtar Donetsk, the Neroverdi's highly-regarded tactician would seal a second continental qualification for the club this weekend, if seventh-placed Roma were to lose and Sassuolo can overcome Lazio.

De Zerbi and company's 3-1 win over Parma at the Tardini last Sunday was their fourth consecutive away victory, as they finish the season in similar style to how it spectacularly started.

In the early months of the campaign, Sassuolo were in the mix for a top-four place, before falling away badly in mid-season. By way of illustration, they have now won six of their last eight Serie A fixtures, after only registering two victories from their previous 13.

Back in peak form, though, a place in the Conference League remains a possibility going into the final day for the relatively modest Emilian outfit. Sassuolo can even still set a new club record for points in a top-flight season, as final-day success would take them past the 61-point haul achieved in 2015-16.

While that would prove just reward for their entertaining brand of football and De Zerbi's avowed commitment to attack, the Neroverdi have only won one of seven previous home games against Lazio in Serie A, ahead of the capital club's visit on Sunday.

Sassuolo Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Lazio Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D



Team News

Lazio's defensive lynchpin Francesco Acerbi remains absent this weekend, having previously suffered the dual misfortune of picking up both a red card and an injury against arch-rivals Roma.

Simone Inzaghi's final selection of the campaign will also be hampered by suspensions for Luis Alberto, Luiz Felipe and Andreas Pereira, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic missed the midweek draw with Torino - having played the Derby wearing a mask, following recent nose surgery - so his participation is in doubt.

Defenders Stefan Radu and Mateo Musacchio are suffering with muscular issues, with two potential partners for 21-goal top scorer Ciro Immobile - Joaquin Correa, who has a calf problem, and Felipe Caicedo (heel) - both struggling too. Therefore - pending the forward pair's availability - the misfiring Vedat Muriqi could feature up front once more.

By comparison, Sassuolo's list of absences is far shorter, though teenage striker Giacomo Raspadori went off injured in the second half of last week's Emilian Derby win due to a muscle problem and must be assessed ahead of the game. Fellow striker Francesco Caputo, though, is said to be improving rapidly after returning from his back injury and could potentially contend with Gregoire Defrel for the centre-forward role.

Veteran midfielder Francesco Magnanelli remains doubtful, however, with Maxime Lopez and Manuel Locatelli - recently confirmed in Italy's initial squad for the Euros - instead the home side's likeliest central pairing.

It remains to be seen whether winger Jeremie Boga's declaration that he would be leaving the club - shortly after Roberto De Zerbi's departure was announced - will affect his place in the lineup, as Hamed Traore and Filip Djuricic are both pushing for a start.

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, Ferrari, Rogerio; Locatelli, Lopez; Berardi, Djuricic, Boga; Defrel

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Marusic, Parolo, Radu; Lazzari, Cataldi, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic; Muriqi, Immobile


We say: Sassuolo 2-1 Lazio

With little left to play for - plus a long list of absentees and walking wounded - Lazio are unlikely to tear themselves apart trying to help rivals Roma secure European football, so are primed for final-day defeat in Sassuolo.

On an occasion tinged with sadness, due to Roberto De Zerbi's imminent exit, the hosts can at least exhibit one final display of his eye-catching brand of the beautiful game. Furthermore, their in-form forwards will surely feast on Lazio's defensive deficiencies throughout the game.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:curl



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