Fenerbahce's team celebrate after the Europa League quarterfinal soccer match against Lazio at Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul April 4, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Lazio needs its best game of the year when it takes on Turkish side Fenerbahçe in the second leg of the 2013 Europa league quarterfinals.
In the opening match, the Italian side imploded in the waning minutes as it allowed the Turkish opposition to win 2-0. Now the Italian side must score three goals at home in order to secure passage to the next round.
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However, the Turkish side feels confident that it has done enough to put the Italian side out of the competition.
"Closing the first leg without conceding has put us in a great position. It will give us a slight advantage tomorrow in my opinion," said Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman. "We're proud to be here but don't want to stop now. We're able to reach the semi-finals and we can make history."
The coach even mentioned rival Galatasaray's strong display against Real Madrid on Tuesday as a source of inspiration. "Italian teams are traditionally very strong and Galatasaray showed last night that even that if you've lost the first game, all is not lost."
Fenerbahçe has not lost since its last match of the group stage against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In the round of 32 the team defeated BATE Borisov 1-0 over two legs and then took down Viktoria Plzeň 2-1 in two legs. More importantly, the team is undefeated in five Europa League away games and has not conceded in its last four matches on the road in Europe.
The Italians might find consolation in the fact that they hold a record of six wins, one draw, and two losses to Turkish competition in Lazio's history (Goal.com). Before the first leg loss, the team had only suffered a single defeat in the tournament. After winning three and drawing three in the group stage, the Italian side won three of its four matches in the knockout stages. Lazio battled to a 3-3 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach in a match where the Italians blew a 2-1 lead but salvaged the draw thanks to a stoppage time tally. The team then took home a 2-0 win and earned a 5-3 aggregate score. In the round of 16, Lazio destroyed Stuttgart side 5-1 over two matches.
Predictions: Lazio manages a 3-0 win.