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Match preview: Lazio vs. Inter Milan - Europe is calling

The Nerazzurri, who are still hoping to find some way to qualify for the Europa League, face a crucial and demanding match ahead for this Sunday against the third-best side of the league, Lazio.

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Match Facts:

Date: Sunday, May 10, 2015

Time: 4.45pm ET/ 20.45 CET

Venue: Stadio Olimpico; Roma, Italy

Every Inter fan expected way more than what they saw last week when ChievoVerona held us scoreless despite the 72% ball possession, forcing us to a draw that makes our path towards the Europa League tougher, but at the same time more interesting. Let's have a look at the updated race for an European spot like we did last week:

It looks more like a race to avoid the Europa League. The only team that came out victorious last week was Fiorentina, which had an easy match against Cesena, while the others - Inter aside - all lost their fixtures. Now the Nerazzurri are only 2 points away from the 6th place, but they have back-to-back demanding clashes against Lazio and Juventus, newly Campioni d'Italia, so we will need to play at our best to deserve the qualification. It's a last minute news that Genoa was denied their UEFA licence by the FIGC because of a documentations delivery delay and this would rule them out from the race, but they will probably appeal to the decision, so we will have to wait to say that with certainty.

To get the three points this Sunday we'll need to play at our best, with maturity and concentration because Lazio is a solid team with talented players like Felipe Anderson, Lucas Biglia, Marco Parolo and the always threatening Miro Klose, who has stepped up in this second half of the season after Djordjevic's ankle injury. Pioli's guys are currently 3rd in the league, one point behind the spot that will avoid them the preliminary round in the Champions League next season occupied by Roma, and that will give the Biancocelesti one more reason to do their best to clinch the 2nd place as soon as they can.

Former Lazio player, Hernanes was one of the most disappointing against Chievo, but Mancini didn't forget the good period of form he was going through before that match and he will probably be able to make his emotional return at the Stadio Olimpico against the team that made him the player he is now.

In today's press conference Mancini was pretty sure on who will start tomorrow, saying that he has doubts only about the defense in which he may have to replace the injured Ranocchia. Juan Jesus could return to his old center-back role (Mancio please..) paired with Vidic, while full-backs Santon and D'Ambrosio should complete the defense. The other starters should be the same as always, even if the youngster Gnoukouri could get the best of Brozovic and earn his third seasonal start after the ones against Milan and Roma.

Starting XIs:

Lazio: Marchetti; Basta, Ciani, Mauricio, Radu; Parolo, Biglia, Candreva, Mauri, Felipe Anderson; Klose.

Inter: Handanovic; Juan Jesus, Vidic, Ranocchia, D'Ambrosio; Guarin, Medel, Kovacic, Hernanes; Icardi, Palacio.