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Preview: Sampdoria vs. SPAL - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday night's Serie A clash between Sampdoria and SPAL, including team news and predicted lineups.

Relegation-threatened SPAL will be looking to boost their Serie A survival hopes when they travel to fellow strugglers Sampdoria on Sunday night.

SPAL currently sit 19th in the table, seven points from the safety of 17th position, while Sampdoria are only just above the relegation zone in 16th, having endured a difficult campaign.

Match preview

SPAL's Andrea Petagna pictured in action in August 2019© Reuters

SPAL still have nine games left to play of their 2019-20 Serie A campaign, but the strugglers will have to start putting wins on the board sooner rather than later if they are to escape the bottom three.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough campaign for Luigi Di Biagio's side, who are facing the very real threat of relegation to the second tier for the 2020-21 season.

Indeed, a total of 19 points from 29 games has left them in 19th, seven points behind 17th-placed Genoa, which is a lot considering that they have only won five times in Italy's top flight this term.

SPAL picked up an impressive point at home to AC Milan on Wednesday night, but they have lost two of their last three against Cagliari and Napoli to remain in a difficult spot in the table.

Sampdoria manager Claudio Ranieri pictured in December 2019© Reuters

Sampdoria, though, will not be in the mood to hand out any favours this weekend as they have problems of their own, sitting just four points above the relegation zone in 16th position.

Claudio Ranieri's side suffered three straight defeats to Inter Milan, Roma and Bologna between June 21 and June 28, but they will enter this match off the back of a huge 2-1 victory at Lecce on Wednesday night.

Not since the 2011-12 campaign have Sampdoria operated outside of Italy's top flight, while they have finished 10th, 10th and ninth in their last three seasons at this level of football.

It has not quite been the campaign that the club's supporters would have wanted, and there is no playing down the importance of this weekend's contest, particularly considering that their next match is away to free-scoring Atalanta BC on Wednesday night.

Sampdoria form: LWLLLW

SPAL competition form: LLWLLD

Team News

Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella in action in September 2019© Reuters

Sampdoria will be without the services of Morten Thorsby due to the yellow card that the midfielder picked up against Lecce last time out, while Karol Linetty, Lorenzo Tonelli, Fabio Quagliarella and Alex Ferrari are also out through injury.

There are not expected to be too many alterations from the side that started on Wednesday, although Manolo Gabbiadini could return at centre-forward, while Ronaldo Vieira is in line to replace Thorsby in midfield.

As for SPAL, Marco D'Alessandro's straight red card in the home draw with Milan means that the Italian will not be available for this weekend's contest.

Ervin Zukanovic, Federico Di Francesco and Etrit Berisha are still on the sidelines through injury, meanwhile, with both sides having their fitness problems at this stage of the season.

Andrea Petagna has scored 12 Serie A goals for the visitors during the 2019-20 campaign and is set to continue in the final third of the field.

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:
Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Depaoli, Ekdal, Vieira, Jankto; Ramirez; Gabbiadini

SPAL possible starting lineup:
Letica; Tomovic, Vicari, Bonifazi; Sala, Valdifori, Valoti, Dabo, Missiroli; Floccari, Petagna

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We say: Sampdoria 1-1 SPAL

Both sides are in desperate need of the points at the moment, but we are finding it hard to separate them. Sampdoria recorded a 1-0 victory in the reverse game earlier this season, and we are expecting another incredibly tight match here, with the pair ultimately sharing the points in a 1-1 draw.

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Sunday's key events

· Wave conditions permitting, surfing will make its Olympic debut (11pm-8.20am)

· Another debutant sport at this Olympics, most eyes will be on American Nyjah Huston in the men's street contest as he looks to add Olympic gold to his four world titles and 12 X-Games golds. (12.30am-5am)

· History beckons for Jade Jones as she looks to become a three-time Olympic champion - something never done before in the sport prior to these Games (2am-1.45pm)
· Team GB's Bradly Sinden - world champion two years ago - is also going for gold in the men's -68kg category (2am-1.45pm)

· Already-legendary gymnast Simone Biles makes her first appearance of the Games in the women's qualifying event (2am-2pm)

· The first swimming medals of the Games will be dished out, with home favourite Daiya Seto going for gold in the men's 400m individual medley (2.30am-4.20am)

· Lizzie Deignan is among the Team GB team looking for success in the women's road race (5am-9.30am)

· Reigning two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray starts his title defence against Canadian hotshot Felix Auger-Aliassime (7am approx.)

> Today's schedule in full
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Pre-Season Friendlies
Olympic Games Men's Football
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Scottish League Cup
Belgian Pro League
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Swedish Allsvenskan
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Finnish Veikkausliiga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
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