European Conference League preview and tip: Lazio set to prove class against AZ Alkmaar

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This Europa Conference League last-16 tie brings AZ Alkmaar to Stadio Olimpico in Rome for their first competitive encounter with Lazio.

In Europe's third-tier competition, Lazio stand out as one of the heavyweight favourites to lift the trophy, and head coach Maurizio Sarri will be looking for a convincing performance that could possibly put the tie to bed before next week's return leg.

Lazio have already faced Dutch opposition this season when beating Feyenoord 4-2 at home and losing 0-1 away in the Europa League group stage. The Italians finished an agonising third in that group, losing out to both Feyenoord and Midjtylland on goal difference, condemning them to the Conference League playoffs, where a Ciro Immobile's first-leg strike was enough to secure victory as the only goal of their tie with CFR Cluj.

Lazio come into this match high in confidence after a superb preformance at the weekend saw them become the only team to win at Serie A table toppers Napoli this season. Their 1-0 victory consolidated their top four spot and was their fifth consecutive clean sheet.

Meanwhile, Alkmaar easily won their group in the Conference League, picking up 15 points from their six games against Dnipro, Apollon and Vaduz, sparing them from having to play in the playoff round.

Just like Lazio, AZ are involved in the fight for the Champions League spots in their domestic league, and they also come into this game after a 1-0 away win in their last game at Vitesse.

Jesper Karlsson scored the only goal and the Swedish striker will be the main concern for the Lazio defence, having contributed three goals and four assists in Europe this season, as well as creating 20 chances.

Lazio's attacking threat continues to be spearheaded by the in-form Immoblie, who recently backed up his winning goal in the previous round with a brace in his next Serie A outing against Salernitana.

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