Sporting will travel to the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow knowing they have already qualified top of Group D and can afford to experiment and play youngsters.
Lazio meanwhile have to beat Sporting and hope that FC Vaslui slip up against FC Zürich or else they are eliminated from the competition.
Since Sporting’s 2-1 win at the Alvalade back in September, Lazio have lost only one game in all competitions, a 1-0 defeat to Juventus back in November. The Romans currently sit 4th in Serie A just two points behind the league leaders Juventus and Udinese, and with a tough clash against Udinese on Sunday could consider making their weekend game a priority.
Domingos Paciência is not willing to risk too many players having left behind Ânderson Polga, João Pereira, Elías, Diego Capel and Ricky van Wolfswinkel – some of the key players so far this season. Domingos will instead then be looking ahead to this weekend’s liga fixture away in Coimbra against Académica. Paciência also confirmed that Valeri Bojinov, Marcelo Boeck and Stijn Schaars (who missed out last weekend through suspension) will play.
Included in the squad are five junior players: Tiago Ilori (who has already made his debut), Ricardo Esgaio, João Mário, João Carlos, and Betinho. Meaning the full squad traveling to Italy is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck
Defenders: Daniel Carriço, Oguchi Onyewu, Evaldo Fabiano, Emiliano Insúa, Tiago Ilori, Ricardo Esgaio
Midfielders: Stijn Schaars, André Santos, André Martins, Bruno Pereirinha, João Mário, João Carlos
Forwards: Valeri Bojinov, André Carrillo, Diego Rubio, Betinho
Paciência stressed to the press earlier that although Sporting have little to play for in terms of competition they will still have the club’s reputation to defend. With the team having won the last three fixtures on the bounce there will be hope that the club can once again go on a winning run the period over September and October that saw the side win ten games in a row.
Possible Sporting XI:
Bruno Pereirinha – Daniel Carriço – Oguchi Onyewu – Evaldo Fabiano
Stijn Schaars – André Santos – André Martins
André Carrillo – Valeri Bojinov – Diego Rubio