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Lecce logo
Serie A | Gameweek 1
Aug 20, 2023 at 7.45pm UK
Stadio Comunale Via del Mare
Lazio logo

2 - 1

Almqvist (85'), Di Francesco (87')
Espeto (68'), Gonzalez (80'), Pongracic (80')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Immobile (26')
Isaksen (71'), Pellegrini (90+4')

Preview: Lecce vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Lecce and Lazio, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having finished second in last season's Serie A standings, Lazio aim to go one better this year, and they kick off their 2023-24 campaign at Lecce's Stadio Via del Mare.

Ahead of their upcoming return to the Champions League, the Biancocelesti will target a fast start in Serie A, where Sunday's hosts remain after defying the drop last term.

Match preview

Lazio's Ciro Immobile celebrates scoring their first goal on May 12, 2023© Reuters

It is three years since Lazio last reached the Champions League group stage, which they will participate in this autumn after posting a top-four league finish in June, and returning to Europe's top table is a marker of Maurizio Sarri's progress at Stadio Olimpico.

His side sewed up second place by beating Empoli in their final fixture of the 2022-23 season, to finish 'best of the rest' behind Scudetto-winners Napoli; posting 74 points to sit above outgoing champions Milan, city rivals Roma and Champions League finalists Inter.

In addition to registering the club's second-best points tally in a top-flight campaign, the Biancocelesti kept a remarkable 21 clean sheets in the process - only two teams have recorded more in a single Serie A season.

Partly due to their new-found defensive solidity, Sarri's men picked up some 37 points on the road, as all-time top scorer Ciro Immobile - who endured an injury-interrupted campaign - was backed up by healthy goal contributions from Mattia Zaccagni (10), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Anderson (both nine).

The style known as 'Sarrisimo' is certainly taking hold in Rome, but a pre-season schedule featuring wins over several minnows - before defeats to Aston Villa and Girona - has been overshadowed by Milinkovic-Savic's long-feared departure.

Though star striker and captain Immobile apparently turned down a switch to the Saudi Pro League, the Serbian midfielder was among those opting to head east this summer, so will be absent for Lazio's Serie A opener at Via del Mare.

Sarri, who has brought in Daichi Kamada and Danish winger Gustav Isaksen among others, failed to get the better of Lecce last term, picking up just one point from two meetings; over the past 11 years, though, Lazio have won eight of their first-day fixtures, including each of the last four.

Lecce's Remi Oudin celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on May 12, 2023© Reuters

Lecce were one of only two teams, along with Torino, to deny Lazio three points in Serie A last season, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 2-2 in May's reverse fixture.

In fact, the Salentini are unbeaten in their last three league matches against their capital-city counterparts and have won both of the clubs' two most recent encounters at Via del Mare.

However, Lecce are yet to win their opening game in any Serie A season: despite 17 previous attempts, they have lost 11 times and drawn on six occasions.

This year, the southern side kick off their league campaign without captain Morten Hjulmand, who moved to Sporting in search of European football, having helped his team secure safety with a game to spare. Despite keeping Lecce afloat upon their return to the Italian top flight, coach Marco Baroni also exited soon after sealing a 16th-place finish.

New boss Roberto D'Aversa - who was heavily involved in Parma's dismal demotion two years ago and then endured a calamitous spell at Sampdoria - has started with a positive set of pre-season results and last week's Coppa Italia win over Como. His new team face a significant step-up in class on Sunday night, though.

Lecce form (all competitions):
  • W

Lazio pre-season form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri on August 3, 2023© Reuters

With only Marcos Antonio and new boy Nicolo Rovella expected to miss out through injury on Sunday, Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri has an almost full hand to choose from in Lecce.

Summer signings Valentin Castellanos, Daichi Kamada and Gustav Isaksen could all feature at some stage, but the visitors' lineup is set to be a familiar one, with Ciro Immobile starting up front in a 4-3-3 formation.

The Italy striker has scored in his first Serie A game for each of the last five Serie A seasons, and he should be joined by either Felipe Anderson or Pedro as part of an attacking trident also featuring Mattia Zaccagni.

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has declined a transfer from Tottenham Hotspur, so one of the unlikely stars of last season, Ivan Provedel, starts between the posts.

Recently signed from Fiorentina, Lorenzo Venuti is Lecce's main absentee and will not return from a shoulder injury suffered during pre-season until October. Fellow full-back Antonino Gallo has picked up an ankle problem and may also miss out.

Having arrived in Salento on loan from Russian club Rostov, Pontus Almqvist scored the winner in last week's cup win against Como, so the former Sweden Under-21 international is set to continue up front; Lorenzo Colombo returned to Milan at the end of last term's loan deal.

The hosts' defence will be helmed by Federico Baschirotto, who was the outfield player with most minutes played in Serie A in 2022-23 (3330) and also made the most clearances (186), earning him an Azzurri call-up at the end of last season.

Lecce possible starting lineup:
Falcone; Gendrey, Pongracic, Baschirotto, Dorgu; Ramadani, Gonzalez, Blin; Strefezza, Almqvist, Banda

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Lazzari, Casale, Romagnoli, Marusic; Vecino, Cataldi, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni

SM words green background

We say: Lecce 0-2 Lazio

As Lazio are a well-drilled side and seem to be on the up under Maurizio Sarri, they can rightly aim to sustain last season's progress. Starting with a tough trip down south on matchday one, the Biancocelesti should safely overcome Lecce, as the home side have surely been weakened by their dealings during the summer.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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