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

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

Seeking to end their seasons with a flourish, Cagliari welcome Fiorentina to the Sardegna Arena for Wednesday evening's battle in Serie A.

The hosts maintained their strong run with a 3-1 triumph at Benevento, while Fiorentina's meeting with Lazio ended in a surprise 2-0 success for the Viola.


Match preview

Leonardo Semplici, now in charge of Cagliari, pictured in December 2019© Reuters

Survival is yet to be confirmed for Cagliari, but the red-hot Isolani ought to have no trouble preserving their top-flight status if they continue in the same vein over the next couple of weeks, with a 3-1 win at 18th-placed Benevento representing their fourth triumph in five matches.

Left-back Charalampos Lykogiannis took under a minute to draw first blood before Gianluca Lapadula made things interesting prior to the second half, but strike partners Joao Pedro and Leonardo Pavoletti both netted to propel Cagliari to yet another win in this stellar run of form.

The autumnal and winter struggles of the Isolani are firmly in the past, as a spate of positive results - with 13 points taken from the last 15 on offer - has seen them rise to 16th in the table and four points clear of their most recent victims Benevento in 18th.

Leonardo Semplici's work is not done and dusted just yet, and the Cagliari boss must gear up for a daunting trip to Champions League-chasing AC Milan in the penultimate matchweek, but Cagliari finally appear to have the look of an established Serie A side once more.

With twelve goals to boast from their last five matches, attack may be the best form of defence for the hosts as they seek to all but confirm their survival, but that will not be a straightforward task against a Fiorentina side enjoying their own unbeaten streak.

Fiorentina head coach Giuseppe Iachini pictured in September 2020© Reuters

A total of 12 cards brandished by referee Fabio Maresca may have caught the attention of some during Fiorentina's battle with Lazio, but the spotlight once again fell on Dusan Vlahovic, who bagged his 20th and 21st goals of the season to sink Simone Inzaghi's European hopefuls.

The 21-year-old netted either side of the half-time whistle as Fiorentina's unbeaten streak stretched to four games on Saturday, with draws against Juventus and Bologna and victory over Hellas Verona preceding their triumph over Lazio.

Almost safe from the threat of relegation but unable to push for anything more, the 13th-placed Viola are playing for little more than pride as the campaign draws to a close, and they must prepare for two fixtures of contrasting nature against Napoli and Crotone in the final two gameweeks.

Only one of Fiorentina's last five away matches in the top flight has ended in defeat, but Giuseppe Iachini is yet to witness his side keep a clean sheet away from home since the turn of the year - most recently doing so in their 3-0 success at Juventus just before Christmas.

A second-half strike from none other than Vlahovic gave Fiorentina a narrow 1-0 win over Cagliari back in January, but the visitors have lost their last two games at the Sardegna Arena by an aggregate scoreline of 7-3.

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

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



Team News

Franck Ribery in action for Fiorentina in September 2020© Reuters

Early goalscorer Lykogiannis failed to complete the full 90 minutes against Benevento due to a muscular issue, so Kwadwo Asamoah may deputise if his Greek teammate is not risked amid a quick fixture turnaround.

The hosts have no fresh concerns from the win over Benevento, with Marko Rog, Gaston Pereiro and Riccardo Sottil all unavailable, but Semplici should be reluctant to shuffle the pack amid their stellar run of form.

However, young centre-back Andrea Carboni lasted just 45 minutes last time out and could find his spot under threat from Daniele Rugani or Sebastian Walukiewicz.

Veteran playmaker Borja Valero is Fiorentina's only injury concern as he nurses a muscular problem, but Igor is back from suspension to boost Iachini's defensive options.

The Brazilian is unlikely to force his way in over Nikola Milenkovic, German Pezzella or Martin Caceres this week, though, with the bulk of the team from the win over Lazio surely set to retain their places.

Franck Ribery and his 38-year-old legs may be in need of a rest here, so Christian Kouame is a candidate to partner star man Vlahovic up top.

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Cragno; Ceppitelli, Rugani, Godin; Nandez, Marin, Nainggolan, Duncan, Asamoah; Pedro, Pavoletti

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Caceres, Milenkovic, Pezzella; Venuti, Amrabat, Castrovilli, Pulgar, Biraghi; Vlahovic, Kouame


SM words green background

We say: Cagliari 2-2 Fiorentina

Cagliari's games are never usually boring affairs since they rediscovered their golden touch, but the Isolani would do well to quell the threat of Vlahovic on their own turf.

However, the hosts' prowess at the other end of the pitch is not to be underestimated either, and we can envisage the two bottom-half sides cancelling each other out in a high-scoring affair.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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:curl


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How you voted: Cagliari vs Fiorentina

Cagliari
40.3%
Draw
30.6%
Fiorentina
29.2%
72
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Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic pictured on March 3, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420

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