Lazio visit Turin with a crucial away goal, after the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus ended 1-1. But with both sides facing setbacks over the weekend, it's tough to predict who might have the advantage.
Last week in Turin, Juventus and Lazio split the spoils, with Federico Peluso scoring for the home side, and Stefano Mauri coming through in the dying minutes with an equalizer. Now it's on to Rome, where this could be the most thrilling second leg in Coppa history, or the sort of cautious, dull match that leads viewers to contemplating poking a pencil through their eyeball to spice things up.
One of the reasons this match could go either way is that both sides are smarting from their weekend performances. Juve, as been their want in 2013, gave away another late goal, leading to a 1-1 draw with relegation strugglers Genoa. Lazio, for their part, didn't even manage to score a goal, losing 1-0 to visiting Chievo.
But there's no room for slips of concentration or lack of determination on Tuesday, what with the chance to compete for a trophy -- and possibly play against their bitter rivals, should Juve get Inter or Lazio, Roma. Still, both sides face a significant setback: The Old Lady are missing Giorgio Chiellini, creating a weakness on the left side that their opponents have been exploiting. The biancocelesti are without Miroslav Klose, who may not be their best player, but is certainly their top scorer and has the ability to poach goals.
Lazio, at least, will be able to make a significant change from the match against Chievo Verona. Hernanes, who started on the bench on Saturday, will almost certainly play from the opening whistle -- if not, Vladimir Petkovic certainly has some 'splaining to do. Mauri, too, began on the bench, and the introduction of both attackers livened up the match. Even without Klose, Lazio should have a goal in them. Let's hope they seek it, rather than resting on that crucial away goal.
Because Juventus are almost certainly going to score. They've been held scoreless on three occasions this season, against Fiorentina, AC Milan, and...Lazio. But that match depended on Federico Marchetti being absolutely flawless, and the goalkeeper just might see the pressure get to him on Tuesday. This is a Juventus side that expects to win, every match and every trophy, and their recent setbacks will only spur on that determination.
Lazio Injuries and Suspensions
Miroslav Klose (injured)
Juventus Injuries and Suspensions
Andrea Pirlo made the 21 man roster, but his recent injury may well see him relegated to the bench
Match Date / Time: Tuesday, January 29 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
TV: RAI Sport 1, ESPN UK, beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Español