MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 22:05:05| >> :600:6056782:6056782:
Mar 13, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Ciro Vigorito
Ionita (56')
Glik (36'), F. (65'), Schiattarella (76'), Improta (83')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Vlahovic (8', 26', 45+1'), Eysseric (75')
Pulgar (43')

Preview: Benevento vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Benevento and Fiorentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After a terrible start to 2021, Benevento will seek to earn a first win in 11 games when they host fellow strugglers Fiorentina at Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Saturday.

As the sides are currently separated only by goal difference, following draws for both last weekend, the pressure is rising to produce a positive result and ease mounting relegation fears.

Match preview

Fiorentina manager Cesare Prandelli pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Continuing an underwhelming run of form, Fiorentina's last league outing resulted in an eventful 3-3 draw against Serie A crisis club Parma at Stadio Artemio Franchi, extending their winless streak to three and leaving them with an average of just a point per game from 26 matches.

It took a late Simone Iacoponi own goal to rescue Cesare Prandelli's men in a match where they improbably managed to register three goals despite mustering only two shots on target. Young Dusan Vlahovic aside, Fiorentina have been unable to find any fluency in front of goal all season long and their tally of 29 goals represents one of the weakest scoring records in the league.

They will now seek to address a disappointing run of results outside of Florence this season, with eight losses and just one win coming from their 12 away fixtures so far. In fact, the last time they won away from home was their stunning late-December win against Juventus, which seems even more of an anomaly now than it did at the time.

Since former Azzurri manager Prandelli returned to the Fiorentina bench ahead of the reverse fixture in Benevento, his side has posted a paltry win rate of just 21%, while in his successful first stint with the club he won just over 50% of his Serie A games in charge.

Set to face five of the current top-half teams in the table in their next six matches - including Milan, Atalanta and Juventus - the vastly experienced tactician must somehow find a means of halting the Viola's decline and has only an unbalanced and under-strength squad to work with. A defeat on Saturday might therefore be a bitter blow that accelerates his expected departure at the end of the season.

Benevento manager Filippo Inzaghi pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Hovering precariously above the drop zone - like Fiorentina, on 26 points - Benevento also earned a share of the spoils last weekend. Drawing 1-1 at fellow promoted side Spezia, however, extended the Streghe's worrying winless streak to 10.

January signing Adolfo Gaich, who has had to be patient since arriving from Russia in the transfer window, marked his first start with a well-taken goal at Stadio Alberto Picco, to at least boost boss Pippo Inzaghi's spirits.

With tried-and-tested option Gianluca Lapadula only managing the same total throughout his past 19 starts, former penalty-box predator Inzaghi may well be tempted to offer the young CSKA Moscow loanee further opportunities as a result.

Skipper Nicolas Viola also continued his productive vein of form since returning from long-term injury to lay on the assist and now has three goal involvements in his six Serie A starts, but his team have only managed a solitary win since the turn of the year and are in dire need of maximum points against their Tuscan counterparts on Saturday.

The previous fixture between the teams saw Benevento emerge 1-0 winners at Stadio Artemio Franchi in the autumn, with Riccardo Improta notching the only goal of the game in the second half.

At that time, the Serie B champions were drawing praise and plaudits from analysts and fans alike, as they sat comfortably in mid-table. However, events in recent weeks - particularly a further worsening of a lacklustre home record - have left Inzaghi and company glancing nervously over their shoulders.

At the Vigorito this season, Benevento have picked up only two wins and 11 points in all from 13 league matches. Now on a six-match streak without a win at home, the Campanian club must surely reverse their fortunes on home soil if they are to avoid a miserable conclusion to a season that started with such promise.

Benevento Serie A form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Fiorentina Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

Team News

Franck Ribery in action for Fiorentina in September 2020© Reuters

Fiorentina's veteran forward Franck Ribery returns from suspension to make the trip south this weekend, with compatriot Valentin Eysseric most likely to make way as the chief support for main striker Dusan Vlahovic.

Meanwhile, midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is nursing a back injury and Gaetano Castrovilli is continuing his recovery from a thigh strain, so Giacomo Bonaventura and Borja Valero are the men favoured to cover the gaps in Cesare Prandelli's central three.

Forwards Christian Kouame and Aleksandr Kokorin are currently out of commission with thigh injuries, but Kouame will be re-assessed before the match. However, young Brazilian defender Igor will not return until sometime next month.

As is common with managers of slumping sides, Benevento boss Pippo Inzaghi has tinkered with different formations of late, but may choose to stick with a back three, as seen against Spezia last time out. Federico Barba would therefore join Kamil Glik and Alessandro Tuia in central defence, though Luca Caldirola is another prominent option.

Former Fiorentina midfielder Bryan Dabo is suspended, so misses out against his former club, while Fabio Depaoli has suffered a calf strain and will not be back in action for another fortnight. His fellow full-back Gaetano Letizia (thigh) remains absent, while forward Iago Falque is a further doubt for Inzaghi's side.

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Glik, Tuia, Barba; Improta; Hetemaj, Schiattarella, Viola; Ionita, Caprari; Gaich

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Venuti, Valero, Pulgar, Bonaventura, Biraghi; Ribery, Vlahovic

SM words green background

We say: Benevento 1-0 Fiorentina

There is every chance that Benevento can break their awful run of results with a rare home win against Fiorentina, which would also lift them above their more illustrious opponents in the Serie A standings.

With both sides' strikers often starved of opportunities, a creative deficit and the difficult situation this struggling pair find themselves in may not be conducive to a free-flowing affair, so just one goal could be decisive at the Vigorito.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting an away win 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.Away Win:data

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Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring against Lazio in Serie A on February 14, 2021
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Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Russian Premier League
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Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
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