Manager Stefano Pioli has demanded his players “react with conviction” in pursuit of their first league title in a decade.
Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri’s honest assessment of a “tough” 1-1 draw at home with Torino may have offered upcoming opposition AC Milan a hint on how to approach this crucial top-six clash, as he conceded that his players are unsuited to facing “physical and aggressive” football. Whilst such vulnerabilities have left them unlikely to secure a Champions League place for next season, a third consecutive top-six finish is still within their grasp. Recent defeats to Napoli (1-2) and Roma (0-3) highlight that Lazio are a considerable distance from the elite teams in this competition, whilst they have already conceded six goals in two competitive defeats to Milan this season (0-2 and 0-4). In fact, Lazio’s abysmal record as a pre-match outsider across all 2021/22 competitions attests to their persistent inability to rise up against better opposition.
AC Milan, Serie A leaders at the start of this round, suffered an immense psychological blow with a 0-3 Coppa Italia semi-final loss to title rivals Internazionale in midweek, and need to immediately regather ahead of five remaining Serie A ‘cup finals’ vs top-half clubs (at the start of this round). Manager Stefano Pioli has demanded his players “react with conviction” in pursuit of their first league title in a decade. They too recently failed to defeat Torino (0-0) in their previous away trip, but have every reason to be confident of taking at least one vital point from this fixture after doing so in each of their last nine in Serie A. This could even feel akin to a home fixture, with ‘Rossoneri’ fans snapping up thousands of tickets and Lazio ultras reportedly planning a protest related to current admission prices.
Ciro Immobile has scored in four of Lazio’s last six Serie A games, including three team opening goals, whilst Rafael Leao opened the scoring in Milan’s two wins over Lazio this season. Only three of the last 12 H2Hs saw both teams score, as did just 20 per cent of all matches between Maurizio Sarri and Stefano Pioli.