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Serie B | 1st Leg
May 21, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
Stadio Nicola Ceravolo

2 - 2

Biasci (51'), Brignola (68')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Tsadjout (14'), Ciofani (50')
Vazquez (37'), Quagliata (60')

Preview: Catanzaro vs. Cremonese - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Serie B playoff between Catanzaro and Cremonese, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams seeking a place in Italy's top flight meet on Tuesday evening, as Catanzaro and Cremonese clash in the Serie B playoff semi-finals.

They convene at Stadio Nicola Ceravolo, for the first leg of a tie that will decide who meets either Palermo or Venezia in the final later this month.

Match preview

After finishing fifth at the end of a 38-game Serie B season, Catanzaro claimed home advantage for the first stage of the elaborate playoff series that selects who will join the top two in Italy's top tier.

However, the Calabrian club trailed 2-1 to Brescia in stoppage time and seemed set for a heartbreaking exit, before Alfredo Donnarumma forced home a header and sent Saturday's game into extra time.

If the scores were still tied after 120 minutes, Catanzaro would have progressed, having finished higher up the Serie B standings, but they nonetheless struck twice more, capped by Pietro Iemmello completing his brace late on.

Vincenzo Vivarini's side are now set for the semi-finals, which are played over two legs, with the overall winner following automatically-promoted Parma and Como into Serie A.

Having only earned promotion from the third tier 12 months ago, the Giallorossi were not expected to contend for such a prize, but they now find themselves within sight of the playoff final.

They have, however, won only one of their last six matches heading into Tuesday's first leg.

Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa pictured in January 2021© Reuters

When Cremonese most recently met Catanzaro, the pair played out a 0-0 draw last month - the same result as in August's reverse fixture, which took place on the opening day of the season.

The sides must be split on this occasion, though, and after finishing seven points clear of their opponents in the Serie B standings, Cremo coach Giovanni Stroppa will expect his team to reach the final.

One year after suffering relegation from the top flight, the Grigiorossi finished fourth, only six points shy of claiming a precious top-two place.

For that reason, they have been able to rest since beating Cittadella 3-0 on the league's final day, finishing with two wins and a draw from their last three fixtures.

Cremonese can be considered favourites to progress, particularly with Saturday's second leg being played at home in Lombardy, but there is unlikely to be complacency in the camp.

Given what is at stake, Stroppa - who has previously led Crotone and Monza to promotion - must ensure his players do not succumb to the pressure of expectation.

Catanzaro Serie B form:

Cremonese Serie B form:

Team News

Catanzaro are set to be without Mario Situm on Tuesday, as the Croatian recently joined Andrea Ghion, Luca D'Andrea and Napoli loanee Giuseppe Ambrosino on the sidelines due to injury.

Either Andrea Oliveri or Stefano Scognamillo should deputise for Situm at right-back, while Dimitris Sounas starts on the right and Jari Vandeputte on the left of a four-man midfield.

In attack, Tommaso Biasci links up with the Giallorossi's top scorer; in addition to 15 league goals this season, Pietro Iemmello netted twice in Saturday's playoff eliminator - he has also scored the game's opening goal eight times this term.

Meanwhile, both Michele Collocolo and former Roma striker Felix Afena-Gyan have been training separately this week and are not set to travel south with the Cremonese squad.

The visitors should start with either Massimo Coda, Frank Tsadjout or even 38-year-old veteran Daniel Ciofani as a lone striker, with Franco Vasquez supporting the frontman from an advanced midfield role.

Catanzaro possible starting lineup:
Fulignati; Scognamillo, Brighenti, Antonini, Scognamillo; Sounas, Pontisso, Petriccione, Vandeputte; Biasci, Iemmello

Cremonese possible starting lineup:
Saro; Bianchetti, Marrone, Lochoshvili; Zanimacchia, Pickel, Castagnetti, Buonaiuto, Quagliata; Vasquez; Coda

SM words green background

We say: Catanzaro 1-1 Cremonese

A 36-year wait for Serie A football has left Catanzaro fans desperate for a top-flight return, but having only shot up from the third tier last season, they may find the playoffs one step too far.

Cremonese can come away from the Ceravolo with a draw for the second time this term, setting up a chance to win the tie on home soil.

Data Analysis

Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Cremonese win with a probability of 43.58%. A win for Catanzaro had a probability of 31.11% and a draw had a probability of 25.3%.

The most likely scoreline for a Cremonese win was 0-1 with a probability of 9.7%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 1-2 (9.04%) and 0-2 (7.32%). The likeliest Catanzaro win was 1-0 (7.94%), while for a drawn scoreline it was 1-1 (11.98%). The actual scoreline of 2-2 was predicted with a 5.6% likelihood. Our team at Sports Mole correctly predicted a draw in this match.

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