Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
Lazio play host AZ Alkmaar at their Stadio Olimpico in the Europa Conference League last 16, first leg. The Biancocelesti are on a three-game winning run in the Serie A, with the team beating league leaders Napoli thanks to Matias Vecino’s goal at the weekend. Maurizio Sarri’s men are high on spirits ahead of Tuesday’s clash, and it is no wonder the bookies see them as favourites to win the first leg. Defender Nicolo Casale is back from the Serie A ban, while there are no fresh injury worries in the home team.
The Eredivisie outfit, on the other hand, did well to beat Vitesse on the road in their last league match, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry in the “Eternal City”. Over the year Lazio have turned their stadium into a real fortress, and given their fine form in the Serie A, home win should be considered. Jordy Clasie returns from the Eredivisie ban, while both Dani de Wit and Sam Beukema are major doubts. Riechedly Bazoer has yet to recover from a knee injury.
Highlighted Player (Elseid Hysaj):
Born on 2nd February 1994, Elseid Hysaj is an Albanian defender who has spent his entire professional career in Italian Serie A and he is predicted a bright future in the game. Empoli scouts spotted his talent while he was playing for Shodra youth sides, and after three years in the youth team, the full-back was promoted to the first team set up.
Hysaj performed really well in his first three years as a first team regular, helping the Azzurri gain promotion to the top fight in the process. One season in Serie A proved enough for the right-sided defender to secure a big club move as he joined Napoli in the summer of 2015 and immediately nailed down a regular starting berth.
Capable of doing dirty defensive work as well as making forward runs, Hysaj is a modern full-back, who is destined for big things. The talented footballer is already a key member of the Albania national team and he will represent the country at the Euro 2016 finals.
Highlighted Team (AZ):
AZ Alkmaar are a professional football club that play their home matches at AFAS Stadion. The venue was opened on 4 August, 2006 and the construction of the stadium cost €38 million. AFAS Stadion is able to hold 17 023 spectators.
The Cheeseheads were founded on 10 May, 1967 and they won their first trophy in 1981, finishing the season 12 points clear of Dutch giants Ajax. 18 years later AZ clinched their second Eredivisie trophy, with the team finishing the 2008/2009 campaign with 80 points, 11 clear of second-placed Twente. In 1981 the club made it to the UEFA Cup final, but English side Ipswich Town proved to be a big catch for the Dutch team.
AZ’s home kits are red and white and they wear black shirts when playing on the road. The likes of Shota Arveladze, Jozy Altidore, Ron Vlaar, Joris Mathijsen, Graziano Pelle, Simon Poulsen, Moussa Dembele and Sergio Romero are notable footballers who played for AZ in the past.