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Petkovic, Lazio staying grounded

Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic has played down his team’s chances of reaching the Europa League last eight despite their 2-0 win at Stuttgart.

Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi were on the scoresheet at the Mercedes Benz Arena, helping the Serie A outfit to the perfect start in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie on Thursday.

Despite taking control of the tie, Petkovic said Lazio were only a slightly better chance of progressing.

“Our chances of qualifying are now 51 percent,” he said.

“I am happy with the approach we took to the game as everything went well. I rotated the squad in an intelligent and reasoned way.

“Those who had the chance to play tonight were most ready for the occasion.”

Petkovic is wary of Stuttgart ahead of the return leg and said the Bundesliga side were a better team away from home.

Stuttgart defender Serdar Tasci said Lazio’s ability to convert their chances was the difference in the first leg.

“There was definitely more to achieve for us. In regards to the entire game we had more possession of the ball, but the Italians were cooler,” he said.

“In the first half they only had one single scoring opportunity which they converted straight away. We had two or three but we didn’t score.”

Midfielder Christian Gentner agreed with Tasci but believes Stuttgart can overturn the deficit, even if what faces them is a ‘mammoth’ task.

“Many things can happen in football. No question about that,” Gentner said.

“But it is going to be a mammoth task against a team that is cool and organised and that has players who can keep the ball.

“An early goal would obviously help us, who knows what is possible then, but we are aware of the fact that it is going to be very difficult.”

Fri 8 Mar, 2013
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