Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv – Thursday, March 8, 20:05 GMT/21:05 CET – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
The next round of the 2017/18 Europa League sees SS Lazio host Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of the Round of 16. While both clubs are eager to progress to the competition’s quarter-finals, the manner in which they reached this stage is very different.
Having qualified directly for the Europa League, Lazio were drawn in Group K with Nice (France), Zulte Waregem (Belgium) and Vitesse (the Netherlands). Despite an unexpected loss on the road to Zulte Waregem, Lazio’s dominant performance at home helped Le Aquile top their group. The Italians were then drawn against Steaua Bucharest, and, at least on paper, it was expected that the Italians would march into the next round of the competition.
Things did not go according to plan in the first leg, where the Italians were shocked by a 1-0 loss to the Romanians. Le Aquile turned the tide in the second leg, however, and replicated another strong performance at home. Having scored four goals in the opening fifty minutes, the Italian side cruised once again into the next round of the competition.
Dynamo Kyiv, on the other hand, had a much nervier ride to this stage of the competition. Having finished runners-up in the 2016/17 Ukrainian Premier Liha, the Ukrainians entered the third round of qualifying in the UEFA Champions League. The Ukrainian club were drawn against Swiss side Young Boys, and although they took a commanding 3-1 lead in the first leg, Dynamo were eliminated after a poor performance in Switzerland. The Ukrainians were then dumped into the Europa League Play-off Round and then qualified for the Europa League Group Stage. Coincidently, the Ukrainians were paired with Young Boys, as well as Partizan (Serbia) and Skënderbeu Korçë (Albania). Despite some challenging matches on the road, the Ukrainians also won their group.
Dynamo Kyiv barely scrapped by in the Round of 32. Having drawn AEK Athens, the Ukrainians travelled to Greece and took an unlikely advantage in the first leg through a 1-1 result, where AEK outshot Dynamo 15 to 3. Dynamo’s strong defensive composure in the second leg led to a well-fought 0-0 draw, and the Ukrainians then progress to the next round, thanks to their away goal.
Based on SS Lazio’s home performances this season, Dynamo Kyiv will need to be flawless if they have any hopes of taking a result to Kyiv in the second leg. Lazio have only lost 5 of its 20 home games in all competitions this season, and if Dynamo have any hope of progressing into the Round of 16, they will need to ride their luck again in this fixture.
SS Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv – Players to Watch
Ciro Immobile #17 – SS Lazio
Having lost the first leg 1-0 to Steaua Bucharest, Le Aquile needed a response in the second leg. Forward Ciro Immobile stepped up to the challenge. In the return leg in Rome, Immobile helped lead his team to a convincing 5-1 win, where the striker scored a hat-trick. The Italian has been merely remarkable this season having scored 32 goals in 34 appearances, and it is without a doubt he will look to add to his tally in this match.
Tamás Kádár #44 – Dynamo Kyiv
Tamás Kádár has been defensively sounding in the 2017/18 Europa League season, with his most notable appearance in the 0-0 draw against AEK Athens. The centre-back will now be put to the test, where he will have to mark the in-form Italian striker Ciro Immobile. Should the Hungarian centre-back keep the Italian at bay, he will know that Dynamo will be in a good position in the return leg in Kyiv.
SS Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv – Match Stats
- This is the second time SS Lazio have drawn Dynamo Kyiv in European competition. The first encounter occurred during the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League First Group Stage. Le Aquile won both matches.
- SS Lazio are undefeated at home in the 2017/18 Europa League season, where they have outscored their opposition 9-2.
- SS Lazio’s record against Ukrainian clubs in European competitions is eight victories, one draw and one loss.
- Dynamo Kyiv’s away record this season is two wins, two draws and one loss (from the Europa League Qualification Play-off Round, Group Stage and Round of 32).
- Dynamo Kyiv have faced Italian opposition in 18 European matches. Their record is two wins, five draws and 11 defeats.
Futbolgrad Prediction: SS Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv – 3-1
SS Lazio vs Dynamo Kyiv – Possible Starting Lineups
Strakosha – Patric, Felipe, Cáceres – Basta, Murgia, Leiva, Alberto, Lulic – Anderson – Immobile
Manager: Claudio Lotito
Boyko – Kedziora, Khacheridi, Kádár, Morozyuk – Buyalsky, Shepelev – Gonzalez, Harmash, Tsyhankov – Moraes
Manager: Aleksandr Khatskevich
Mark Temnycky is a Ukrainian-American who earned a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in June 2017. He is pursuing a career in international relations and foreign policy. Follow Mark on Twitter @MTem33