Lazio have one foot in the Europa League semi-finals, and Kevin Hatchard thinks they'll book their place in the last four in style in Thursday night's second leg...
"Lazio managed to beat Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine, so they'll have no fears here, and they have recently recaptured their form."
RB Salzburg v Lazio
Thursday April 12, 20:05
Live on BT Sport
Salzburg on the edge after dodgy defending
Just as they had in Dortmund in the last 16, RB Salzburg played with great adventure in Rome, twice finding an equaliser against Lazio before conceding two late goals to surrender the initiative. Those defensive lapses could ultimately cost them dearly.
This has been a rare jaunt into the latter stages of a European competition for Salzburg, who have so often fallen in the qualifiers of the Champions League. Their progress in the UEL this term can in some ways be seen as a boost for Austrian football as a whole, but given Salzburg's stranglehold on the domestic scene, you won't find many Austrians outside Salzburg who'll agree with that sentiment.
Salzburg suffered a rare Austrian Bundesliga defeat at Linz at the weekend as they doubtless looked ahead to this match, but they still have an eight-point cushion at the top. This is a team that is used to winning, a team has hasn't conceded a goal at home since February, a team that has won seven of its eight home games in 2018. It didn't need to win the other, as that was the goalless draw that finished the job against Dortmund.
Visitors have shown they can excel on the road
I must admit that I didn't expect Lazio to get this far, simply because I thought they were doomed in the last 16. They had been held to a 2-2 draw at home by Dynamo Kyiv, but they then went to Ukraine and handed Dynamo a rare home defeat. Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi has constantly defied the odds, and is doing so again.
After a recent wobble, Lazio have clicked back into gear. They came back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Udinese at the weekend, as Serie A's top scorer Ciro Immobile netted his 27th league goal of the campaign. Lazio have suddenly won three of their last four matches, and are playing with confidence and attacking intent. It's also worth noting that Lazio won two of their three away games in the group stage, including an impressive victory at Nice.
Salzburg are the [2.3] favourites for the win here, but this isn't the same situation that they faced against Dortmund. They have to push for goals, and with Lazio's attacking prowess, they'll need to put on a near-perfect performance.
Roma's miraculous comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League won't have been lost on Lazio, and that will give them a smidgen of added motivation to progress here.
Lazio's win at Dynamo has made a believer of me when it comes to the Roman side's away form, and I'll back them here using Draw No Bet at [2.32].
Italy international Immobile is a goal machine. In addition to his Serie A haul, he has seven goals in the Europa League, and he has scored four goals in his last three outings. His pace and direct running will come in handy on the counter-attack for Lazio, so I'll back him to score at [2.1] on the Sportsbook.
Kevin Hatchard 2017-18 Europa League P/L
P/L: +0.67 points