Lazio coach Edy Reja had already described Saturday’s televised Serie A encounter as a final, but the occasion has taken on even more significance for his side following the passing of one of their all-time legends Giorgio Chinaglia.
Captain Tommaso Rocchi, who wears Chinaglia’s number nine shirt, says the squad want to win for him. That isn’t all that is at stake though, as the match is likely to play a huge part in determining who claims the final Champions League place.
Despite three defeats in four, Lazio possess a three-point advantage over Napoli in that battle, meaning that victory will see them double that, whereas a loss will send their conquerors into pole position.
The visitors undoubtedly possess the stronger team, especially as Miroslav Klose is out injured for the capital club, however there is a resolve about them that shows no sign of fading even as results take a turn for the worse.
Their home form remains impressive – five triumphs in six, four achieved without conceding – while they are also big-game performers, winning three and drawing three of their seven meetings with top-six rivals.
So with Napoli appearing recently to be feeling the strain of an exhausting campaign, collecting only two points from their last three league fixtures, the 8/5 on Lazio prevailing looks rather attractive.
These clubs were involved in a spectacular 4-3 clash in Naples last season, yet that was a drastic exception to the usual pattern of their collisions.
Six of their last seven have featured two goals or fewer, with at least one side keeping a clean sheet in five of those.
Therefore it would seem like backing under 2.5 goals at 8/11, opposing both teams to score at 11/10 and punting on Lazio to win to nil at 7/2 are all sound options.