A 1-1 draw in Prague has left the ball very much in Lazio's court, but with Sparta also unbeaten in this season's UEFA Europa League, it could be a long night in Rome.
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SS Lazio came away from Prague with a 1-1 draw in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener, but can expect another gruelling encounter with AC Sparta Praha in Rome, with both sides still unbeaten in the competition.
• Marco Parolo cancelled out Martin Frýdek's spectacular effort for Sparta in the first leg.
• Lazio have had the better of the sides' five European meetings (W2 D2 L1). Sven-Göran Eriksson's Lazio got the better of Ivan Hašek's Sparta home and away in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage, but, in the same competition in 2003/04, Jiří Kotrba's Sparta held Roberto Mancini's Lazio to a 2-2 draw in Rome and then beat them 1-0 in Prague.
• Those five games represent Lazio's only experience of Czech opponents.
• Sparta have yet to win in 11 games in Italy. Their record in 23 European encounters with Italian teams is W3 D10 L10 (W3 D7 L2 in Prague – W0 D3 L8 in Italy).
• Sparta, Lazio, Liverpool FC and – of the round of 32 entrants – FC Shakhtar Donetsk are the only surviving sides yet to lose in this season's UEFA Europa League proper.
• Lazio have won all five of their European home games this season, scoring three in each of their last four UEFA games at the Stadio Olimpico.
• Sparta are unbeaten in six games on the road this season (W2 D4), scoring at least once in all of those matches – significant given how much away goals could count in this tie.
• Lazio last contested the round of 16 in 2012/13, when they beat VfB Stuttgart en route to a last-eight loss to Fenerbahçe SK. In their most successful campaign in this competition, they went down 3-0 against FC Internazionale Milano in the 1998 UEFA Cup final.
• Sparta last reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1983/84 – their best campaign in this competition.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Prague to Rome is around 900km.
• Sparta have been penalised for 168 fouls from the group stage onwards – 23 more than any other side in this season's competition. They have also received the most yellow cards (25) after nine matchdays.
• Sparta defender Ondřej Mazuch was part of the FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk squad that graced the UEFA Europa League final last term, though he did not play in the 3-2 final reverse to Sevilla FC.
• Lazio's Lucas Biglia played alongside Mazuch (2009–11) and Lukáš Mareček (2010–13) at RSC Anderlecht.
• Mazuch also has Serie A experience, the defender having been an ACF Fiorentina player from 2007–09, though he made just two league outings for the Viola.
• Notable players who represented both clubs include Pavel Nedvěd (Sparta 1992–96, Lazio 1996–2001) and Karel Poborský (Lazio 2000–01, Sparta 2002–05).
• A central defender with Juventus and Fiorentina among others, Stefano Pioli was appointed by Lazio in June 2014. He has been a coach in Italy's top two divisions since 2003, his clubs including hometown side Parma FC, AC Chievo Verona and most recently Bologna FC.
• Experienced trainer Zdeněk Ščasný, 58, took over at Sparta last April. Once a defender-cum-midfielder, he won Czechoslovakian titles with FK Dukla Praha and Sparta. As a coach, he steered Sparta to two championships in the 1990s and has also managed in Greece and Hungary.
• Lazio have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
• Sparta's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L1:
L 3-1 H v FC Dynamo Kyiv (1998/99 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round)
W 4-3 A v Odense BK (2007/08 UEFA Cup first round)