MATUZALEM UPBEAT DESPITE DEFICIT
Lazio midfielder Francelino Matuzalem insists his side remain in the hunt to reach the last 16 of the Europa League despite needing to overturn an imposing first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid on Thursday.
The Italians lost 3-1 at home to Atletico last week and travel to the Vicente Calderon needing to score at least three goals to progress.
"I'm convinced that it's not impossible to overturn the tie," Matuzalem said. "It will not be easy because Atletico have shown what they can do.
"There's no doubt Atletico are a great side but we will go all out determined to get the result we need.
"We have quality players that can help us to achieve that feat."
Lazio have not won away from home in Europe this season and Thursday's task will be all the more challenging considering
Lazio's injury crisis continues.
The Romans are without strikers Miroslav Klose and Tommaso Rocchi with the former out with a back problem and the latter sidelined with a muscular problem.
Lazio coach Edy Reja will have to rely on Libor Kozak and 17-year-old Antonio Rozzi to deliver in front of goal against Atletico.
Rozzi is among five youngsters included in Reja's travelling party.
The only consolation for Reja is that pivotal midfielder Stefano Mauri returns to play after a long injury absence.
Lazio go into the encounter on the back of Sunday's 5-1 defeat at Palermo that dropped them to fourth in Serie A.
Atletico have yet to lose under coach Diego Simeone and are riding a seven-match unbeaten run that has seen them climb to sixth in the Primera Division.
However, Atletico striker Falcao, who scored twice in the first leg, has warned his team-mates not to take Lazio lightly.
"We've only played one leg and the tie it's not over," he said. "Lazio are a dangerous side and we cannot be over-confident.
"We must show the same attitude we displayed in Rome and hand a good performance in front of our crowd."
Atletico will be without creative midfielder Diego, who sustained a muscle tear during Sunday's 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijon.
Defender Antonio Lopez and midfielder Arda Turan are injured while midfielder Mario Suarez is suspended.
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