Lazio v CFR Cluj facts

Lazio have no margin for error as CFR Cluj come to Rome needing a single point to progress at the expense of their Italian hosts.

Ciprian Deac celebrates scoring for CFR Cluj against Lazio on Matchday 1
Ciprian Deac celebrates scoring for CFR Cluj against Lazio on Matchday 1 ©Getty Images

With three defeats in their first four Group E matches, Lazio cannot afford to drop any more points if they are to hold out hope of reaching the knockout phase, while CFR Cluj come to Rome knowing that one point from their final two fixtures will take them through at the Italian club's expense alongside already-qualified Celtic.

• All four of Lazio's Group E games have finished 2-1, but only one – at home to Rennes – in their favour, Celtic scoring late winning goals to come from behind and beat them in both Glasgow and Rome on Matchdays 3 and 4. CFR, conversely, plundered maximum points from their back-to-back fixtures against Rennes, winning both games 1-0 to eliminate their French opponents.

Highlights: CFR Cluj 2-1 Lazio
Highlights: CFR Cluj 2-1 Lazio

Previous meetings
• CFR and Lazio had never met in a UEFA encounter until Matchday 1, when the Romanian champions conceded first but came back to beat the Serie A side 2-1 in Cluj-Napoca thanks to French striker Billel Omrani's 75th-minute winner.

• Lazio have won only two of their seven matches against Romanian clubs, though the one victory in Rome, 5-1 against FCSB in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg (after a 0-1 reverse in Bucharest), ranks as their biggest home win in the competition proper.

• CFR have twice been paired with Lazio's city rivals Roma, famously winning their first ever UEFA Champions League group fixture 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in September 2008 with Juan Culio scoring both goals. They lost the return 1-3 at home and then took just one point off the same opponents at the same stage of the competition two years later (1-2 a, 1-1 h). They also lost both legs of their 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie to Internazionale (0-2 a, 0-3 h).

Highlights: Lazio 1-2 Celtic
Highlights: Lazio 1-2 Celtic

Form guide
Lazio
• Lazio defeated Atalanta 2-0 in last season's Coppa Italia final to lift the trophy for the seventh time and gain direct access to the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition they exited in the round of 32 last season after losing home (0-1) and away (0-2) to Sevilla.

• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, the Biancocelesti's last six UEFA Europa League group stage participations have all been successful – after failure in the first – and they have topped their section on three occasions. Their best performances came in 2012/13 and 2017/18, when they reached the quarter-finals.

• Lazio's home record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W15 D4 L4. They were on a run of 17 group games undefeated in Rome (W13 D4) until they lost 1-2 to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 6 last season. The Serie A side have now lost three of their last four home games in the competition overall, failing to keep a clean sheet in the last ten.

Highlights: Rennes 0-1 CFR Cluj
Highlights: Rennes 0-1 CFR Cluj

CFR
• CFR claimed their fifth Romanian league title – and second in succession – in 2018/19, all those triumphs having come since 2008. In Europe, they lost to Malmö in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and got no further than the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they were beaten twice (0-2 a, 2-3 h) by Dudelange of Luxembourg.

• A 1-0 loss at Astana kicked off this season's UEFA Champions League campaign, but CFR turned that tie around with a 3-1 home success and went on to beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv (1-0 h, 2-2 a) before memorably knocking out Celtic (1-1 h, 4-3 a). Slavia Praha proved too strong, however, in the play-offs, winning both games 1-0 to send CFR into their second UEFA Europa League group stage; the first, in 2009/10, ended with just one win and five defeats.

• CFR lost their first five away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League proper without scoring, before breaking their duck with the 1-0 win at Rennes on Matchday 3.

Highlights: Lazio 2-1 Rennes
Highlights: Lazio 2-1 Rennes

Links and trivia
• CFR's Croatian midfielder Damjan Djoković has played in Italy for Monza, Cesena, Bologna, Livorno and Spezia.

• CFR coach Dan Petrescu won his first cap for Romania against Italy in March 1989 – a 1-0 friendly win in Sibiu – and later played for two Italian clubs (Foggia 1991–93 and Genoa 1993–94). As a Steaua Bucureşti player, he lost the 1989 European Cup final 4-0 to AC Milan.

• This is Lazio's eighth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage, matching Salzburg's competition record.

• Lazio have won their last five Serie A matches, the latest of them 2-1 at Sassuolo on Sunday, and are unbeaten in their last eight.

Highlights: Celtic 2-0 CFR Cluj
Highlights: Celtic 2-0 CFR Cluj

The coaches
• Lazio boss since April 2016, when he replaced Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, winning the Italian double in his debut season and the Coppa Italia twice more in later years. The younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, with whom he played at home-town outfit Piacenza, he began coaching Lazio's youth teams immediately after hanging up his boots. His first trophy as head coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup, his second the Coppa Italia two years later.

• The sixth most-capped Romanian international of all time, with 95 appearances, Petrescu played in four successive major tournaments from 1994 to 2000. The attacking right-back also carved out a successful career at club level, notably with Steaua and in England at Chelsea, with whom he spent five years and won three major trophies. He has had a diverse coaching career, the highlight a surprise Romanian title triumph with Unirea Urziceni in 2008/09 – a feat he repeated with CFR Cluj in 2017/18 and again the following season after returning from China in March 2019.

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