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Maribor out to deny Lazio top spot

Published: Tuesday 27 November 2012, 11.26CET
The knockout stages may be beyond them, but NK Maribor can still dash S.S. Lazio's ambitions of finishing atop UEFA Europa League Group J when the pair meet on matchday six.
Maribor out to deny Lazio top spot
Martin Milec (left) and Maribor can spoil Lazio's plans ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 27 November 2012, 11.26CET

Maribor out to deny Lazio top spot

The knockout stages may be beyond them, but NK Maribor can still dash S.S. Lazio's ambitions of finishing atop UEFA Europa League Group J when the pair meet on matchday six.

NK Maribor are out of contention for a UEFA Europa League round of 32 place but could potentially conspire to deny S.S. Lazio top spot in Group J with a victory on matchday six.

Group J permutations
• Lazio are through and will top the group with a victory or if Tottenham Hotspur FC fail to win. If Lazio and Tottenham finish level on points, first place will be decided on overall goal difference, overall goals scored then coefficient.

Tottenham will be through with a draw or win.

Panathinaikos FC will be through with a win.

Maribor are out.

Previous meetings
• Lazio won 1-0 when the sides met on matchday two. The home side finally managed to find a way through on 62 minutes thanks to Ederson, but Hernanes later missed a penalty after Jovan Vidovič was sent off for the visitors.

• That was the clubs' third meeting, with Maribor yet to avoid defeat – or indeed score a goal – against the Biancocelesti.

• Bojan Prašnikar's Maribor lost 4-0 home and away to a Lazio side coached by Sven-Göran Eriksson in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

• The teams for their first meeting in Rome on 29 September 1999 – in which Maribor's Geri Çipi was sent off after 19 minutes – were:
Lazio: Marchegiani, Negro, Sensini, Sérgio Conceição, Mancini, Mihajlović (Almeyda 72), Nesta, Pancaro, Lombardo (Verón 23), Stanković (Salas 45), Inzaghi.
Maribor: Simeunović, Vugdalič, Sešlar, Židan (Pregelj 81), Karić, Šimundža (Šarkezi 45), Çipi, Balajić, Djuranovič, Galič, Bozgo (Filipovič 68).

• The teams for the return leg in Slovenia on 19 October 1999 were:
Maribor: Simeunović, Vugdalič, Sešlar (Dragusha 84), Židan, Karić, Šimundža (Pregelj 78), Balajić, Djuranovič, Galič, Bozgo (Filipovič 61), Šarkezi.
Lazio: Ballotta, Favalli, Sensini, Sérgio Conceição (Marcolin 75), Mihajlović, Nesta (Couto 18), Simeone, Pancaro, Nedvěd (Gottardi 70), Stanković, Inzaghi.

• That 4-0 loss remains Maribor's heaviest European home defeat.

• Simone Inzaghi, who scored three goals over the two legs, coaches Lazio's Under-16 team.

Match background
• In addition to those games against Maribor, Lazio won both legs of their UEFA Europa League play-off against ND Mura 05 this season, and have thus triumphed in all five of their fixtures against Slovenian sides.

• Maribor have played four further games against Italian clubs since first meeting Lazio, with their overall record versus Serie A teams reading: W1 D1 L5 (W1 D1 L1 at home – W0 D0 L4 in Italy).

• Maribor have won only one of their last five UEFA Europa League home games, beating Panathinaikos FC 3-0 on matchday one. That matched their best home victory in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

• Lazio have not lost away from home in Europe this season, recording a win and two draws.

Team facts
• Lazio boast the best defence in the group stage with just one goal conceded after matchday five.

• This is Lazio's 150th UEFA competition game; their previous 149 ended W70 D37 L42.

• Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovič has recent experience in Italian football: he represented Mantova FC (2007–10) and Empoli FC (2010–11) in Serie B. His cousin, Samir Handanovič, now plays in goal for FC Internazionale Milano, and represented Lazio on loan in 2006.

• Maribor coach Darko Milanič was a defender for Yugoslavia and Slovenia, spending his club career with FK Partizan and SK Sturm Graz. After captaining Slovenia at UEFA EURO 2000, he moved into coaching with NK Izola, NK Primorje, and ND Gorica before switching to Maribor, where he has won three league titles.

• Lazio's coach since June has been Vladimir Petković, who won a Yugoslavian title as a midfielder with hometown club FK Sarajevo in 1984/85 before moving to Switzerland, where he played at a modest level and coached AC Bellinzona, BSC Young Boys and FC Sion, as well as moving to Turkey to take charge of Samsunspor.

Last updated: 03/12/12 17.12CET