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Lazio vs Udinese preview: Lazio’s european hopes rest on coppa Italia, Udinese visit stadio Olimpico

Lazio’s hopes of European football next season may well rest on winning the Coppa Italia, unless they can quickly turn around their league form.

The Eagles, who are through to the semi-finals of the domestic cup, were eliminated from the Champions League in midweek with a 3-0 defeat in Germany that condemned them to a 3-1 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich.

That result means Maurizio Sarri’s team have now lost four of their last five matches in all competitions (1W), while they also find themselves six points adrift of the top six in Serie A ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.

Nothing is insurmountable with nine games of the league season remaining, but their current form suggests it will be a tall order to achieve.

Defeats to Bologna and AC Milan mean Lazio are in danger of losing three consecutive home matches for the first time since September 2009.

Their opponents Udinese will be hoping that does happen, although they have a terrible recent record in this fixture, winning just one of their last 20 meetings (5D, 14L).

That means they will travel to Rome with a degree of trepidation, especially as they have won just one Serie A game in 2024 (4D, 4L).

That victory, which came against a high-flying Juventus side, was followed by three matches without a win (2D, 1L).

It means the Zebras’ top-flight status, which they have held since 1995, is under serious threat.

They are just one point above the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s matches, which heaps pressure on coach Gabriele Cioffi, who took charge in October but has overseen just three league wins to date (9D, 6L).

Players to watch: Lazio captain Ciro Immobile has an impressive record against Udinese, averaging 0.75 goals per game with 12 strikes in 16 appearances (11W, 4D, 1L). Lorenzo Lucca should lead the line for the Zebras. He has not lost any of the last nine games in which he has scored (4W, 5D). There have been at least three goals in eight of those matches.

Hot stat: Udinese have drawn 15 Serie A games this season – the most in the league.

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