Udinese vs Lazio, Preview: Rejuvenated Zebrette hot on the trail of stuttering Eagles

Tullio M. Puglia

Lazio may have a third Derby della Capitale to look forward to, but will first look to address their alarming slide down the league table, when they travel to face Udinese.

The Coppa Italia finalists found out this week that they will face AS Roma for the trophy in late May, after their city rivals bested Inter Milan over two legs. However, Vladimir Petkovic's immediate concern is getting his side's European bid back on track.

Lazio's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League were virtually wiped out by Monday's defeat at home to Juventus, which left the Biancocelesti trailing third placed AC Milan by eight points with six games left to play.

Udinese lie just three points behind their visitors and are in direct competition for a Europa League place. The Zebrette come into the game on the back of two consecutive victories and are starting to show their stripes. Last weekend's 3-0 victory at Parma was achieved without the suspended Antonio Di Natale, but the 17 goal marksman will be back for this clash. Luis Muriel - who netted a brace at the Tardini will take Toto's place on the naughty step.

Lazio have failed to register consecutive victories since January, winning just a single match in February and March. Neither side has been known for their sparkling away form this season, yet four of Lazio's final six games are away from the Stadio Olimpico.

Udinese lost the reverse fixture 3-0 back in November, but have won the previous two meetings in front of their own fans. Since then, the sides have played out three consecutive draws, with Lazio last winning on this ground six years ago.

Giovanni Pasquale and Giampiero Pinzi are injury doubts for the home side. Other than that, Francesco Guidolin has the luxury of naming a full strength side.

Lazio welcome back defensive trio Andre Dias, Abdoulay Konko and Giuseppe Biava to the matchday squad. Stefan Radu and Senad Lulic, who were both suspended for the Juventus game have been left out through injury along with Bruno Pereirinha. Lorik Cana is suspended, while Cristian Ledesma and Miroslav Klose are expected to shake off minor injuries in time to start.

Udinese injuries and suspensions

Out: Giovanni Pasquale, Giampiero Pinzi (in doubt) Luis Muriel (suspended)

Lazio injuries and suspensions

Out: Stefan Radu, Senad Lulic, Bruno Pereirinha, Cristian Brocchi (injured) Lorik Cana (suspended)

Match Date/Time: Saturday 20th April 2013 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Friuli, Udine, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1(Italy) RAI Internazionale (U.S) ESPN (UK)

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