Sunday Sep 15, 2019  
  02/10/2013: Europa League Preview: Trabzonspor - Lazio
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Times are hectic for Lazio. With a injury list consisting of several key players and a start to the season that has seen the team lose points against both top and bottom of the league things are no longer as sweet as they were back in May. The Derby loss, the humiliation against Juventus times two and the recent plump - a lucky 2-2 draw against a superior Sassuolo. Coach Petkovic has stated the main difficulty is to be found in getting the players going on all cylinders, a job that a coach needs to handle.

It is therefore har to fully focus on the Europa League game against Trabzonspor. Not because the opponents are not a force to be reckoned and not because the competition is of lesser importance than anything else. No, because Lazio have looked pretty poor so far this season and with a crucial game against Fiorentina coming up on Sunday much of the thought is already there. Before that though, the Turks must be faced.

Trabzonspor are doing well so far in the domestic league and are sitting in fourth. All home games have been won so far and only one goal has been conceded at Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium. The home support is, as is customary in Turkey, something out of the ordinary and an additional aspect to take into consideration.

Trabzonspor opened the Europa League campaign by beating Limassol, a victory that might show crucial when the points are to be counted after the group stages. Just as Lazio though, some of the focus will be directed to the game following the Europa League clash, as giants Fenerbahce will be faced in the weekend.  

Petkovic should be fully aware of the atmosphere that will be facing his men and the quality that Trabzon possess. The Bosnian used to coach in the Turkish league, about half a season at Samsunspor before being kicked out due to poor results, so an understanding of the place the team is travel to should be present. Add to that the loss against Fenerbahce last season and a 2-1 win against Trabzonspor some 19 years ago and a bit of experience should be asked for when facing the sort of atmosphere that Turkish teams provide when playing at home.

Also Lorik Cana, a given starter in the centre of the defence in today's Lazio, will remember his games against this opposition. When playing for Galatasaray Cana lost a 2-0 game against the side and remembers that "playing away to this team is never an easy task and we will have to sacrifice a lot to win this game".

As always dicussions are tense about a possible starting eleven. Will Petkovic gamble a bit or go for the same players as usual? A problematic aspect is that key players like Konko, Radu, Dias, Biava and Klose are all unavailable and despite having played under ten games this season Lazio are looking fatigued and the players like they are coming close to the end of the season rather than just starting it. The predicted line-up below should therefore be understood as a qualified guess, based on the recent reports coming from Formello.

Lazio: Marchetti, Cavanda, Ciani, Cana, Lulic, Biglia, Onazi, Candreva, Hernanes, Anderson, Perea.
Author: Khashayar Kashefi
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