MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 22:45:43| >> :600:6059220:6059220:
Feb 7, 2021 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Ciro Vigorito
Caprari (55')
Tuia (14'), Improta (31'), Depaoli (41'), Ionita (70')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Balde (80')
Silva (6'), Tonelli (48')

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

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

Following a slow start to 2021, Benevento welcome fellow mid-table side Sampdoria to Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Sunday afternoon, with the clubs separated by just four points in the Serie A standings.

Pippo Inzaghi's men have surprised many since their promotion as second-tier champions last summer, but now face a test of their credentials, as the relegation-threatened teams below them start to narrow the gap.

Match preview

Benevento manager Filippo Inzaghi pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Seeking to beat Sampdoria for the third straight Serie A time this Sunday, Benevento have never before won three successive games against the same team in the top flight. To do so, however, they will need to arrest a slump in form which has seen the Campanian side pick up just one win since the turn of the year.

Despite their recent travails, Benevento still sit in 12th place thanks to a rapid adaptation to life at the elite level and have picked up 22 points so far this season - one more than they did in the whole of their doomed 2017-18 Serie A campaign.

Defeated 4-0 in their last outing, against Inter at San Siro, the Stregoni's winless streak was extended to four. Never the most defensively sound unit, Inzaghi's previously potent side has also started to stall in attack, so he will gladly welcome back forward Marco Sau from a two-game suspension this week, as the Sardinian striker has been their most prolific frontman since Gianluca Caprari started to go off the boil.

Benevento's joint-top scorer with four goals, Caprari has played 73 games and scored 14 goals for Sampdoria but has been considered surplus to requirements at the Marassi in recent times. Now out on loan for a second successive year, the former Roma primavera player would surely enjoy getting back on the goalscoring trail against his parent club this weekend.

Unusually for a newly-promoted team, Benevento have collected more away points than at home, where they have won just twice this term - only Parma, Torino and Spezia have picked up fewer on home turf so far. Also featuring the second-worst defence in the league, with 40 goals conceded, they will need to improve on both counts if they are to avoid being sucked into a springtime dogfight for survival.

Sampdoria manager Claudio Ranieri pictured in January 2021© Reuters

When these two sides last met in September, Sampdoria suffered what seemed to be a humbling 3-2 defeat at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Before Benevento had earned the respect and admiration of their Serie A peers through a string of enterprising performances, Claudio Ranieri's team were embarrassed to lose what seemed a home banker before kickoff.

Like their opponents, the Blucerchiati have improved considerably since, while developing a reputation for no half measures - Ranieri's inconsistent side have registered just two league draws, with eight wins and ten losses.

Their last outing saw them beaten 2-0 at home by Juventus, leaving them in 10th place in the table - not in genuine contention for European football next season, but also far from any relegation-related strife.

Though their defensive record is commensurate with a side of their current standing, a lack of clean sheets has been the key factor in undermining their quest for consistency - with only two shut-outs achieved to date.

While veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella has yet to produce the goalscoring goods in 2021, Keita Balde and Antonio Candreva have instead come to the fore in attack. Samp's erstwhile Azzurri forward has netted 19 goals in his last 23 matches against promoted teams though - three of which came against Benevento - so will be keen to prove to Ranieri and the socially-distant Blucerchiati faithful that there is still life in the old man yet.

Benevento Serie A form: LWLLDL

Sampdoria Serie A form: LWLWWL

Team News

Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella in action in September 2019© Reuters

With only long-term absentee Manolo Gabbiadini missing for Sampdoria, now that Lorenzo Tonelli and Alex Ferrari have returned, coach Claudio Ranieri has several pleasing personnel dilemmas to solve.

Star striker Fabio Quagliarella is likely to be joined up front by Keita Balde, though January signing Ernesto Torregrossa is pressing for a first start, while a three-way battle for two places in the engine room sees Albin Ekdal, Morten Thorsby and Adrien Silva fighting it out for selection.

Jakub Jankto, Mikkel Damsgaard and Gaston Ramirez are all in contention for a role in support of Samp's front pair.

Benevento boss Pippo Inzaghi will be without his match-winner from the reverse fixture, as Gaetano Letizia is still struggling with a flexor injury, but hopes to have Alessandro Tuia and Gabriele Moncini - in doubt due to an ankle problem - available on Sunday.

The Giallorosso coach is expected to revert to a 4-3-2-1 setup, thereby abandoning the unsuccessful three-man defence of recent weeks. Therefore, the experienced central pair should be Kamil Glik and Luca Caldirola, with Fabio Depaoli (recently arrived on loan from the visitors) shifting to right-back.

Inzaghi has several options up front, with Gianluca Lapadula set to be supported by Gianluca Caprari and one of Roberto Insigne, Iago Falque or Marco Sau.

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Depaoli, Glik, Caldirola, Barba; Hetemaj, Schiattarella, Ionita; Insigne, Caprari; Lapadula

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Ekdal, Silva, Jankto; Keita, Quagliarella

SM words green background

We say: Benevento 2-2 Sampdoria

Hit-or-miss Sampdoria may have to make do with a rare draw at Vigorito this Sunday, with the home side overdue a return to form and potentially reaping the benefits of switching back to a familiar formation.

Benevento are committed to positive principles under Pippo Inzaghi, so can use their attacking resources to strike twice against Samp's breachable backline.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo pictured on January 24, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
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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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Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
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