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Lazio v Partizan Belgrade: Preview

PA

ROME, November 24 (UEFA Cup) - Lazio will be desperate to register their first European victory of the season when they take on Partizan Belgrade at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

The Biancoceleste are well aware that defeat could spell the end of their UEFA Cup adventure after taking just one point from their opening two fixtures in the competition.

Group E leaders Middlesbrough are the firm favourites to progress to the knockout stages but, with victory over Partizan, Lazio could yet secure second or third position - each of which would secure a place in the last 32.

However, if Mimmo Caso's side are to qualify for the next phase, they will have to put the disappointment of their recent 2-1 Coppa Italia defeat against Cagliari behind them.

Lazio currently occupy eighth place in the Serie A table but president Claudio Lotito has admitted concern at his team's lack of firepower.

Having signed three strikers during the summer, Lotito expected much more from an attacking line-up which has produced just 12 goals in Italy's top flight.

``We throw away so many goalscoring opportunities,'' he said. ``We are really suffering to score.

``Lazio have great strikers and I am certain they will eventually find the target.''

Lotito has also not ruled out the possibility of moving back into transfer market when the window re-opens in January.

``If there's a possibility to improve the squad then I will consider it,'' he said.

Veteran goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi, who returned to action at the weekend after a two-month absence through injury, is expected to feature against Partizan.

Former West Ham and Celtic striker Paolo Di Canio returns from suspension and is set to partner Simone Inzaghi in attack.

Partizan coach Vladimir Vermezovic insists his team cannot possibly be regarded as favourites against Lazio despite their impressive domestic form.

They currently lead Serbia and Montenegro's First Federal League by three points from city rivals Red Star but Vermezovic is happy for his team to be labelled as underdogs against the Italian giants.

``Someone wrote in our newspapers that we are favourites in Rome,'' he said.

``But I must say that opinion is not correct. Even though Lazio are not at the top of the Italian league at the moment, they have great players, many of whom were leaders of other teams in previous years.

``They are playing big matches every weekend.

``Still, I know that every single Partizan player who enters the famous Stadio Olimpico will do his best.

``We are going there to compete, and let the better team win.''

Attacking full-back Milivoje Cirkovic is Partizan's only doubt, after picking up a groin injury while on international duty with Serbia and Montenegro.
 

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It has gotten to the point where I don't have a clue about the outcome anymore. Lazio is so inconsistent lately, that this could go either way, win, lose, draw. I'm just going to take the sceptical 'wait and see' approach to this one.
 

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Partizan will play their usual formation for European games: 4-3-2-1

The team will look like this:

-------------------------------Boya-------------------------------------
--------------------Ciric--------------------Ilic--------------------------
---------Vukcevic--------------Tomic-------------------N.Brnovic--------
------Emegehera----------Djordjevic---Mirkovic----------------Rnic-------
--------------------------------Kralj-------------------------------------

Partizan will try to withstand the early pressure that will surely come from Lazio and then try to use their strength in midfield (primarily passing game from Ciric,Ilic,Tomic & Vukcevic) to dominate ball possesion and ultimately kill off the game and/or hopefully score a goal.

Partizan won't be overly ambitious in this game especially while the score is 0:0. If Lazio score early, this tactic will change however. A draw is more than enough so far as Partizan is concerned for this game as it means that we need only one point in the remaining 2 games to qualify for the next UEFA Cup round stage.

Partizan has an experienced team this year mixed with some youthful talent. Mirkovic and Tomic have come back, as well as Ciric, Ilic and goalkeeper Kralj. Vukcevic is arguably the best young talent in Serbian football at the moment. Boya, our Cameroon forward, is young and agile and a real fighter, but is far from a goal scoring machine. Partizan usually scores from second phase play.

This is basically it on Partizan. We haven't lost a game this season (in europe or in the domestic league) however the quality of our domestic league is very poor.

What do you guys expect for tommorow's game from the Lazio perspective? What tactics and team do you expect Lazio to come out with for the match?

Thanks in advance and may the best team win!
 

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Partizan won't be overly ambitious in this game especially while the score is 0:0.
Then I guess Biancoleleste's prediction is spot on. We aren't exactly great when forced to attack, hold possesion and penetrate packed defences. We need an early goal, if we don't score such a goal, I don't think we will win.

As for the formation and line-up - no one can be certain since Caso changes them in some very odd ways. I hope Inzaghi won't start but he probably will. We will need Pandev and Cesar's flair but I guess Caso will use the Fillipinis or Manfredini or Cesar on the right wing. I hope we play with Pandev or Di Canio as a trequartista behind the striking duo becasue we have to win and draw won't get us anywhere so risks should be taken.
 

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Despite the fact that you guys are going through some sort of crisis, I think that this is a very tough match for us. The media here are writing stupid comments like 'if Partizan can't beat Lazio now, they never will'. I think this is a mistake because you still have very danegerous players especially Cesar and Rocchi. Will Rocchi play as a forward or on the left?

The last time we played you had players like Nedved, Salas, Stankovic, Mihajlovic, Favalli etc.. and admittedly it was a much tougher assignment then now but the game is still going to be played in Rome and will be tough for us to get a result.

I'm still hoping that we can get at least a draw from the game.

The one player from our team that you guys should keep an eye on is the guy who will be wearing #1 on his shirt, Simon Vukcevic. He is only 18 and has already been labelled as the 'new Savicevic'. He's left-footed, quick and technically very, very gifted. Juventus is already shown interest in signing him. But he is young and may have an amazing game or just do nothing. Keep an eye on him anyway.
 

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I now realised that Lequi and Talamonti are not registered for the UEFA Cup (don't ask me why in the case of Talamonti), so I don't think it will be 0:0 because with Couto and Negro we will probably concede at least a goal. Cesar is also in doubt for the game.
 

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How much I'd love to see us win this one...:nervous:

Will be very difficult...we can't afford take too many risks in the defense, so I expect a slow-paced game with few chances.

Di Canio is suspended on Sunday so he'll probably start. Cesar won't play 90 minutes, I hope he comes as a sub to make a difference. With the Argentians missing, I expect to see something like this:

Sereni
Oddo-Negro-Couto-Lopez
Manfredini-Dabo-Liverani-Di Canio
Pandev
Rocchi

This with Lopez concentrating solely on defense to give Paolo more freedom.

We must win, that goes without saying.
 

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I'd rather see Antonio Fillipini than Manfredini on the right, I heard that he has played very well against Cagliari and if the left midfielder of Partizan is as dangerous as JV portrayed him, we might need Fillipini to help Oddo in defence.

FORZA LAZIO!
 

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Antonio Filippini did play well against Cagliari, that's true. But as I see it, in a game like this we should concentrate on getting the best attacking options available, that's why I think that Manfredini is better suited for the needed tactic than Filippini. But Caso might go either way, we'll see...
 

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Kafka, I was of the opinion also that this would be a slow paced game with few chances considering tactics and Lazio's recent poor form in front of goal. However I have now totally changed my mind and believe that this will be a cracking game.

Appereanty Italian reports have said that on the insistance of Paolo Di Canio, the Lazio team have made a pact that they will give it their all in this game, and that they will atack from minute 1 and try to win, whatever the cost. I expect a more attacking formation with Manfredini definately playing. I am almost convinced that Lazio will score within the first 20 minututes and this will totally change the game. There will be goals....

Partizan, by their nature has ALWAYS played attacking football. Its in our blood, we don't know different. When we defend, we look poor. I think that when we go down by a goal, we will attack Lazio with all that we have. The game will be end-to-end stuff with a lot of chances and will definately be a fast game.

2:2 I predict (hope).

Good luck and as always may the best team win.
 

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Let's hope so...but we have had great difficulties scoring, don't count on us scoring in the first 20 minutes...

The best team will win. :)
 

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Damn. We're 2-0 down already. This is ridiculous. First Inzaghi's goal is wrongfully disallowed, then Boya kicks the ball out of Sereni's hands and that goal is allowed. Forget about it now. We're screwed.
 

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So it's goodbye UEFA cup...:(

Not that it matters a great deal, it's not like we could have won the cup...still very disappointing.
 

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Not only we are 2:0 down but Inzaghi missed a penalty, the idiot. :(
 

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Goal by Di Canio. Lazio pull one back.
 

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I think I was too negative earlier on. This being the group stage away goals aren't decisive. All need not be lost.
 

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But we definitely need to win...only 20 minutes left. :nervous:
 
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