MX23RW : Saturday, May 15 23:43:26| >> :120:42237:42237:
Apr 17, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Sant'Elia
Pavoletti (39'), Marin (66'), Pereiro (90+1'), Cerri (90+4')
Marin (30'), Duncan (46'), Nandez (80'), Nainggolan (83')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Pezzella (5'), Kucka (31'), Man (59')
Pezzella (24'), Kurtic (58')

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

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

Separated by just two points at the wrong end of the Serie A standings, 18th-placed Cagliari host the side just below them on Saturday, as Parma arrive in Sardinia seeking a miracle to survive.

With time fast running out, the losers at the Sardegna Arena are surely bound for demotion next month, as next-closest club Torino are five points ahead of the hosts with a game still in hand.

Match preview

Radja Nainggolan celebrates after scoring for Cagliari against Inter Milan in January 2020© Reuters

Ahead of a potentially definitive clash against one of their chief rivals to avoid dropping into Serie B, Cagliari's promising upturn after head coach Leonardo Semplici took over in February has undeniably come to an end.

Having rejuvenated his new side in an all-too-brief honeymoon period, their new-found positivity has dissipated of late, courtesy of four consecutive defeats - the most recent of which came last weekend at champions-elect Inter.

By common consent, Semplici's men had the best of the game against Antonio Conte's ruthless counter-attacking unit, but once more failed to create enough chances - or convert those that came - and they have now netted just twice in their last four games.

Coming into Saturday's game in the rare position as favourites, the Isolani will not be able to rely on fond memories created on Sardinian soil this term. Indeed, they have accumulated only 12 points in 15 home games to date, with their only win in the last five home outings coming against Bologna in early March.

Cagliari have, though, lost only one of their last nine meetings with Parma and - perhaps tellingly - they have frequently been able to pick up points from games against clubs around them, having won each of their last four league games against sides in the bottom three. Their visitors, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four against such opponents.

Parma manager Roberto D'Aversa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Having also understandably been beaten by one of the league-leading Milan clubs last week - going down 3-1 at home to Stefano Pioli's second-placed Rossoneri - troubled Parma are in serious danger of seeing their recent renaissance set back by being relegated to the second tier.

After three seasons at the highest level - following their ascent from the depths of Serie D in 2015 - hasty changes of management, scattergun transfer strategy and a series of destabilising injuries have left them scrapping for survival.

Returning coach Roberto D'Aversa has found no solutions to the Crociati's troubles at the back, with their tally of 59 goals conceded better only than bottom side Crotone, who have the leakiest rearguard in the top five European leagues. Not only that, but his team have the least effective attack - currently averaging less than a goal per game in Serie A.

Now with eight points from their last eight outings, the Gialloblu are seven points adrift of safety and have just eight games remaining to save themselves.

Since D'Aversa stepped back into the dugout, Parma have drawn four of their six away matches - including each of their last three - but now need experienced campaigners such as top scorer Juraj Kucka (with six) and journeyman striker Graziano Pelle to convert singles into maximums - starting in Cagliari this week.

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

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

Team News

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

There are several potential absences for Leonardo Semplici to contend with in the build-up to Saturday's six-pointer. In addition to longer-term injury victims Marko Rog and Riccardo Sottil, the condition of Luca Ceppitelli, Alessandro Deiola and French midfielder Matteo Tramoni will be assessed ahead of the game.

Cagliari do hope to have Alessio Cragno - who was among several Italian players testing positive for COVID-19 upon their return from international duty - back in goal if he returns a negative test, though Guglielmo Vicario will deputise between the posts again if required.

Meanwhile, up front, Leonardo Pavoletti is favourite ahead of Giovanni Simeone to partner top-scoring skipper Joao Pedro.

Visiting coach Roberto D'Aversa also has numerous injury concerns, with several potential options possibly being sidelined alongside certain absentees Joshua Zirkzee and Mattia Sprocati.

Players including Yann Karamoh, Simone Iacoponi, Roberto Inglese, Juan Brunetta and Romanian forward Valentin Mihaila are in doubt to make the trip south, while last week's goalscorer, defender Riccardo Gagliolo, must serve a suspension: Venezuelan centre-back Yordan Osorio is expected to step in.

Mihalia's compatriot Dennis Man should continue out wide in Parma's three-man strike force, with Andreas Cornelius asked to make an impact at centre-forward despite having netted only once in 21 previous outings.

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Klavan, Godin, Rugani; Nandez, Marin, Nainggolan, Duncan, Zappa; Pavoletti, Joao Pedro

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Conti, Bani, Osorio, Pezzella; Grassi, Kurtic, Brugman; Man, Cornelius, Kucka

SM words green background

We say: Cagliari 1-0 Parma

This imperiled pair are two of the four Serie A sides which have failed to score on the most occasions this term - and they are similarly placed in terms of shot conversion rates - so a tense, low-scoring affair could be in prospect.

Cagliari can stay in with an outside shot of extending their four-year stay in the top flight, despite their modest attacking threat, as the grit and experience of Diego Godin, Radja Nainggolan and Ragnar Klavan may prove crucial in seeing them over the line against Serie B-bound Parma.

Top 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 attacker Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Serie A clash with Benevento on March 21, 2021
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Saturday's Serie A predictions including Torino vs. Juventus
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