MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 13:47:18| >> :600:5882869:5882869:
May 1, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Ezio Scida
Inter MilanInter Milan

Riviere (73')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Eriksen (69'), Hakimi (90+2')
Brozovic (38'), Eriksen (90+1')

Preview: Crotone vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Crotone and Inter Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Inter Milan could strike the decisive blow in their quest for the Scudetto on Saturday, as they visit Serie B-bound Crotone, seeking three points to inch them closer to glory.

While Inter would be confirmed as champions should they win and nearest rivals Atalanta fail to take maximum points on Sunday, their hosts may see their inevitable return to the second tier formalised at Stadio Ezio Scida.

Match preview

Inter Milan's Matteo Darmian celebrates scoring against Cagliari on April 11, 2021© Reuters

Continuing their remarkable home record this year, it took a closely contested 90 minutes to seal Inter's latest victory - against Verona at San Siro - with the away side having an equal share of possession and as many shots on goal as Antonio Conte's table-topping team.

For the second time in as many weeks, it was wing-back Matteo Darmian who was the unlikely scorer of the game's only goal - firing home in the 76th minute to end any Hellas hopes of a taking a point back to Veneto.

Inter had previously edged closer to a first Serie A crown since 2010 with their 1-1 draw at Spezia, which took them 10 points clear of closest rivals Milan at the top of the table - but with their San Siro-sharing cousins failing again at the weekend, the chance to seal success has now moved within touching distance for the Nerazzurri.

Unbeaten in 17 league games - their longest such streak in a single season since 2008 - Conte and company have swept clear of the chasing pack since the turn of the year and they can even claim their 19th Scudetto by the first weekend in May.

While their attacking stars, such as Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez - both of whom have seen their penalty-box potency dip of late - have gained much of the applause, it has been Inter's dogged defence which has seen them close to getting over the line. With just 29 goals conceded all season long, the back three - or, when necessary, a rigid five - has excelled in the second half of the campaign.

As they prepare to finally topple outgoing champions Juventus from their throne, this week Inter come up against a polar opposite side, against whom they have scored 13 goals in five previous encounters - including the 6-2 thumping in January which set the tone for their sparkling late-winter spell.

Serse Cosmi, now in charge of Crotone, pictured in 2012© Reuters

Crotone will attempt to achieve the improbable on Saturday, as they could not only post their first back-to-back Serie A successes since April 2018, but also keep their vanishingly faint hopes of top-flight survival alive with an unlikely victory over Inter.

The Calabrian outfit at least readied themselves for the ultimate test by winning away from home for the first time in the 2020-21 campaign last week, following an entertaining 4-3 defeat of fellow strugglers Parma last weekend.

The bottom two went head-to-head, with Crotone knowing that a loss would seal their fate, as 19-goal top scorer Simy starred again with a well-taken brace - making him the highest-scoring Nigerian in Serie A history.

Since coach Serse Cosmi's recent arrival in the dugout, the unheralded striker has scored 12 goals in nine appearances to take him within three of surpassing an Inter old boy, Samuel Eto'o (21), as the only African player to reach 20 goals in a single Serie A season - which the Cameroon star achieved in an unforgettable 2010-11 campaign.

Certainly, the Squali are fulfilling Cosmi's stated aim of finishing their brief stay in the Italian elite "with dignity", thanks to some explosive performances from their attacking trio of Simy, Adam Ounas and club captain Junior Messias: a total of 45 goals at either end in their nine most recent fixtures, has demonstrated that at least Crotone are going down with a fight.

Such a stance has led to them conceding a staggering 83 league goals so far though, as they now come up against one of the deadliest duos in Calcio - with both Lukaku and Martinez overdue to add to their already impressive tallies.

Crotone Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Team News

Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte pictured on February 14, 2021© Reuters

Antonio Conte is often reluctant to tinker with a winning formula and, as Inter have few injury concerns ahead of Saturday's game, their starting XI could remain unchanged.

Only defender Aleksandar Kolarov is definitely ruled out with a muscle injury and veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal's return from knee surgery has been a protracted process, so the Chile international may not be involved once again. In his continued absence, Stefano Sensi is set to be offered an increasingly rare opportunity to start.

Despite scoring crucial winners twice within the space of a fortnight, Matteo Darmian is not guaranteed an opportunity to feature on the flank, as Achraf Hakimi and Ashley Young are also hoping to start out wide - with Ivan Perisic another possible option.

Home coach Serse Cosmi is similarly untroubled by absences, as only reserve striker Samuel Di Carmine is out injured for Crotone, while Luca Marrone remains troubled by a calf issue.

With nothing to lose and infamy to gain, Cosmi may opt to stick with his recent attacking outlook, as he matches up against Inter's 3-5-2 formation: red-hot striker Simy being supported by the deeper-lying wizadry of Adam Ounas and skipper Junior Messias.

Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Magallan, Golemic, Djidji; Molina, Cigarini, Zanellato, Messias, Reca; Ounas, Simy

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Darmian; Lukaku, Martinez

SM words green background

We say: Crotone 1-3 Inter Milan

Inter have not always sought to dominate proceedings of late, as they have steadily accumulated enough points by any means necessary, but their far-superior midfield unit can take charge against lowly Crotone.

Though the Squali have hit the net with greater regularity than the champions-elect in recent weeks, they have not faced a teak-tough back line like the Nerazzurri's and will find themselves outgunned at the Scida on Saturday - sending them back down to Serie B.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring for Inter Milan on October 2, 2019
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Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

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