ITALIAN SERIE A

Stadio Friuli

Attendance: 16000

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Udinese

  • Antonio Di Natale 19'

1 - 0

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Udinese v Lazio: Preview

Lazio head coach Vladimir Petkovic hopes to turn the excitement generated by the prospect of next month's capital city Coppa Italia final into a dominant display at Udinese tomorrow.

The Biancocelesti edged Juventus out of the semi-finals in January and had to wait three months to watch fierce rivals Roma join them in the final at the expense of Inter Milan.

The mind games have already started ahead of the first-ever Rome derby final but Petkovic would prefer his players to focus their attentions on beating European hopefuls Udinese.

Francesco Guidolin's men have reached eighth place on the back of two straight wins and now sit three points and three places shy of Lazio, who claimed a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture.

The Bosnian told La Repubblica: ``We are taking on one of the fittest teams in the league and they will be fired up because, if they win, they will catch us in the league table.

``They are a highly organised team but we have already showed we know how to hurt them.

``We need a win to give ourselves a psychological boost and one that will put us back on the right path.''

Referring to the Coppa showdown with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on May 26, he added: ``It will certainly be a fantastic game.

``There will be added intrigue because it's the first time the two teams have gone head-to-head for this trophy.

``I hope it also serves as a great advert for Italian football because it will be broadcast in many countries.''

Injuries to Abdoulay Konko, Senad Lulic, Pereirinha and Cristian Brocchi serve to limit Lazio's chances of leapfrogging Roma into fifth place with victory at the Stadio Friuli.

Udinese striker Luis Muriel serves a one-match suspension after scoring twice in a 3-0 win at Parma, but 20-goal forward Antonio Di Natale returns from a ban.

Bianconeri coach Guidolin said: ``We were blindly chasing Europe for a long time but now, here we are.

``We are still far away and we have to make up a lot of ground but it's nice to think that we have a chance. Getting there for the third year in a row would make me particularly proud.''

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