MX23RW : Friday, April 23 01:17:21| >> :600:278515:278515:
Feb 19, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Sant'Elia
CagliariCagliari
0-1
TorinoTorino

Simeone (64'), Ceppitelli (72')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bremer (76')
Lukic (26'), Belotti (49')

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

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

Two desperate sides meet in a crucial basement battle on Friday night, as Cagliari host Torino at Sardegna Arena, with both teams seeking to finally end miserable winless streaks in Serie A.

The Isolani have failed to taste victory for 15 matches now, while their visitors have become Calcio's draw specialists and want to avoid an eighth straight game without a win.


Match preview

Cagliari manager Eusebio Di Francesco pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Having reportedly entered a training retreat (or 'ritiro') ahead of Torino's visit this weekend, struggling Cagliari are apparently on the brink of sacking a coach whose contract they have only just extended - in the face of all available evidence.

Despite taking the reins in Sardinia just last summer, Eusebio Di Francesco's deal was renewed in January, even though they had fallen to seven consecutive defeats in all competitions - with their last victory dating back to a Coppa Italia success against Hellas Verona in late November.

Club president Tommaso Giulini insisted the board had faith in the former Italy international to turn things around and offered the generous gesture "to give him even more strength, solidity and show him how much we believe in him."

However, the Rossoblu have picked up just one point in three games since and sit 18th in the Serie A standings after back-to-back defeats against Lazio and Atalanta - the latter of which heartbreakingly came as a result of Luis Muriel's 90th minute winner last week - so the pressure continues to mount.

In fact, to save his job, some reports claim Di Francesco must steer his side to victory this time out - a result which would see them climb out of the relegation zone, above their opponents. That represents no mean feat though, as Cagliari's last league win came against Sampdoria, over three months ago. They do, however, enjoy a recent record of supremacy over Turin's second side.

One of just three top-flight triumphs this term, the Isolani won the last league meeting between the teams, running out 3-2 winners at Stadio Olimpico Grande di Torino in October. Now 'missing in action' in front of goal, striker Giovanni Simeone registered goals in either half and club top scorer Joao Pedro also was on target, as Cagliari enjoyed a promising start to their campaign - one which has subsequently soured.

Torino's Lyanco reacts on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Ahead of Friday night's critical clash, Torino have not managed to overturn their Sardinian hosts in any of their last five Serie A encounters, since March 2018.

In spite of a marked uplift in performances since boyhood Toro fan Davide Nicola was appointed, their winless streak has now extended to seven - six of which were draws - leaving them precariously placed in 17th, with just 17 points.

The Granata survived to see out a goalless draw as Genoa had the best scoring opportunities in Turin last weekend, with a fifth consecutive stalemate at least keeping Nicola's unbeaten record as boss intact.

Four of those games were tied after having gone behind, which at least makes a change from their more customary habit of letting leads slip - a trend for which they led the statistics across the top five European leagues in 2020. It also demonstrates the greater grit and organisation clearly apparent since Marco Giampaolo's disastrous reign came to an end last month.

Nonetheless, the time has surely come to start turning single point returns into trebles, as Torino now face two sides chasing their tail - Cagliari and Crotone - in the coming weeks.

Cagliari Serie A form: LLLDLL
Cagliari form (all competitions): LLLDLL

Torino Serie A form: LDDDDD
Torino form (all competitions): DDDDDD


Team News

Kwadwo Asamoah pictured in November 2018© Reuters

Still in search of inspiration, Cagliari coach Eusebio Di Francesco seems intent on repeating the 3-4-1-2 setup seen against Lazio and Atalanta, with recent signing Kwadwo Asamoah possibly earning a first start on the left flank in place of Charalampos Lykogiannis.

The hosts are expected to be without defenders Luca Ceppitelli and Ragnar Klavan, plus winger Riccardo Sottil, who are all unlikely to be ready for Friday.

In attack, Joao Pedro and Radja Nainggolan should begin behind the lone striker - either Leonardo Pavoletti or Giovanni Simeone.

Torino coach Davide Nicola only has January signing Antonio Sanabria, who has recovered from COVID-19 but has only just begun training with his new teammates, and injury victim Mergim Vojvoda - not expected to return until early next month - definitely unavailable ahead of Friday's game. There have also been two further positive COVID-19 tests at the club this week, but those players have not been named.

Rolando Mandragora is expected to continue in midfield, having taken the place of Karol Linetty in recent games following his arrival on loan from city rivals Juventus. Meanwhile, up front, Simone Verdi and Federico Bonazzoli will compete with current incumbent Simone Zaza to partner leading man Andrea Belotti.

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Cragno; Walukiewicz, Godin, Rugani; Zappa, Nandez, Marin, Asamoah; Nainggolan, Pedro; Simeone

Torino possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Izzo, Nkoulou, Bremer; Singo, Lukic, Mandragora, Rincon, Ansaldi; Zaza, Belotti


SM words green background

We say: Cagliari 1-2 Torino

The stage is set for an intense scrap for three valuable points in the quest for Serie A salvation, as one team's winless streak could finally be brought to an end.

Featuring a more consistent setup and selection - and with one of Serie A's top strikers leading from the front - Torino can ultimately prevail in a hard-fought encounter under Friday night lights.


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:data


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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan32237271294276
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3Atalanta BCAtalanta32198573393465
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6Lazio3118495346758
7Roma3216795648855
8SassuoloSassuolo32131095450449
9Sampdoria32126144346-342
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona32118134040041
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12Udinese3299143442-836
13Fiorentina3289154153-1233
14Genoa32712133548-1333
15SpeziaSpezia3289154260-1833
16Torino31613124654-831
17BeneventoBenevento32710153562-2731
18CagliariCagliari3277183654-1828
19Parma32311183366-3320
20Crotone3243253880-4215

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