With Inter Milan losing their chance to play on Sunday due to a postponement caused by Italy's coronavirus outbreak, SS Lazio find themselves with the opportunity to open up a comfortable gap between themselves and the third-place side when they travel to face Genoa CFC, a team that currently resides in the relegation zone, on Sunday. The match will receive national television coverage in the United States.
With Inter spending much of the season atop the Serie table, or battling defending champions Juventus in a close second, Lazio seemed to come out of nowhere to become serious title challengers. The Biancocelesti have now claimed 52 points from their last available 60, according to 101 Great Goals, and have won 15 matches in an unbeaten streak of 19.
Lazio's rise has largely come on the coattails of top scorer Ciro Immobile. The 30-year-old not only leads his team, but he also leads the league with 26 goals — and with 14 matches remaining, would appear to have a realistic shot at catching the Serie A record of 36 set by Gonzalo Higuain in the 2015/2016 campaign.
One possible mitigating factor is the number of penalties scored so far by the Serie A leader, with 10 of Immobile's 26 tallies coming from the spot, heading into Sunday. That total not only leads Italy but is the highest number of made penalties by any player in the top five European leagues.
But playing on the road, Lazio could face a surprising stumbling block in the form of Genoa CFC — a club that has now won two straight, and are unbeaten in their last four, according to Reuters, placing them just one point short of lifting themselves to safety — at least for the time being.
"In the two months I have been here, we have become aware of our possibilities," Head Coach Davide Nicola told Reuters. "But there is a long way to go," he added.
The Grifone enter the match as underdogs, but perhaps not by as much as would be expected. According to odds posted by 101 Great Goals, odds against a victory by the home side are just 4/1, while odds on a victory by the Roman side have been set at 4/6. Odds against the match ending on level terms are listed at 29/10.
With Inter now six points off the pace and Lazio able to stay within one of the top with a win Sunday, last weekend's dramatic, 2-1 victory by the Roman side appears now to have been a turning point in the season.
This Sunday's Lazio-Genoa match is scheduled to get underway at 12:30 p.m. Central European Standard Time at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy. In the United States, that start time will be 6:30 a.m. EST, 3:30 a.m. PST. The match will be televised nationally in the U.S. by the ESPN2 network.