MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 15:21:41| >> :600:321754:321754:
Feb 20, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Alberto Braglia
Caputo (52')
Traore (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Soriano (17')
Hickey (30')

Preview: Sassuolo vs. Bologna - prediction, team news, lineups

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

After ending a worrying run of results with a win last week, Sassuolo now prepare for an Emilian derby against Bologna on Saturday evening.

The Neroverdi welcome Sinisa Mihajlovic's 15th-placed side to the Mapei Stadium, having secured their first success in six games against bottom club Crotone, and are poised to push on now that their star strikeforce has been reunited.

Match preview

Domenico Berardi pictured in October 2018© Reuters

Domenico Berardi took little time to underline his importance to Sassuolo upon his return to the starting lineup last weekend, following a prolonged absence through injury.

The Azzurri forward struck the back of the Crotone net after just 14 minutes of the Neroverdi's 2-1 win at Stadio Ezio Scida - taking his seasonal tally to eight goals and four assists - and there is no doubt that the potency of the Sassuolo attack suffers significantly when he is absent.

Having won half of their matches in the 2020-21 campaign with Berardi in the starting XI (eight out of 16), without him Roberto De Zerbi's side have won only 17% - demonstrating their reliance on his undoubted talents.

A second-half penalty versus Crotone provided Berardi's partner in crime Francesco Caputo's third strike in four games, following a dry spell caused by lingering thigh problems, so with the Neroverdi's deadly duo now finally back in tandem, De Zerbi will aim to get their push for a European place back on track before the clubs above them disappear out of sight.

After a disappointing loss to Serie A surprise package Spezia in their last game on home soil, eighth-placed Sassuolo had picked up just two points from their previous five outings, thanks only to draws against serial strugglers Cagliari and Parma. Now, following their first success since early January, they bid to prolong a winning streak against near neighbours Bologna, having got the better of their Emilian rivals with wins in their last three meetings, dating back to November 2019.

The last Serie A fixture between the teams saw Sassuolo come out on top 4-3 in a stunning comeback win at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara in October. Berardi and Caputo were both on target that day as their team started the season with a bang, so now they can combine again, the pair will seek to kickstart a stuttering campaign.

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic looks dejected after the match on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Though Bologna appear to have turned a corner, having broken a barren run of just one win from their 11 previous matches with Derby d'Emilia success over Parma and then drawn 1-1 with Benevento last week, they have particularly struggled to seal success on the road this term.

The Felsinei have, in fact, posted just two away victories this season and must surely improve on that return if they are to stay clear of the Serie A drop zone this spring.

Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic spoke of his anger at the continuing combination of individual errors and misfiring forwards after the draw with Serie B champions Benevento last week, after the Rossoblu relinquished a lead gained after only 55 seconds and spurned several opportunities to increase their advantage. An error from goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski allowed Nicolas Viola to equalise, as Mihajlovic's men continue to concede avoidable goals.

With a record of only four clean sheets during the entire 2020-21 campaign, it is apparent that the main source of Bologna's concern has been a defence which has conceded 36 league goals, but the lack of a reliable goalscorer has also dented hopes of a top-half finish.

They now make the short journey to Sassuolo, seeking to upset their once-modest local rivals, who have usurped them in recent years by means of excellent recruitment and an enterprising brand of football which Bologna would dearly love to replicate.

Sassuolo Serie A form: LDLDLW
Sassuolo form (all competitions): LDLDLW

Bologna Serie A form: LWLLWD

Team News

Jeremie Boga pictured for Sassuolo in October 2019© Reuters

Winger Jeremie Boga remains out through injury for Sassuolo this week, with either Maxime Lopez continuing in a more advanced role in his absence or - more probably - Hamed Traore coming back into the side.

As centre-back Vlad Chiriches is also expected to remain sidelined - alongside Filippo Romagna and Mehdi Bourabia - defensive mainstay Gian Marco Ferrari can step back in after missing out against former club Crotone last week due to suspension.

Veteran skipper Francesco Magnanelli will compete with Lopez and Pedro Obiang for a place alongside Manuel Locatelli in midfield, while Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo start again up front, having both fully recovered from injuries.

Only Gary Medel, Paolo Farago and long-term injury victim Federico Santander are unavailable for the visiting side, as midfielder Mattias Svanberg returns from suspension.

Nicolas Dominguez is most likely to make way for Svanberg in the Bologna engine room, with the XI which drew with Benevento otherwise being retained, though either Rodrigo Palacio and Riccardo Orsolini - who have both recently drifted out of the first-choice lineup - could be involved in attack.

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Marlon, Ferrari, Rogerio; Magnanelli, Locatelli; Berardi, Traore, Djuricic; Caputo

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Tomiyasu, Danilo, Soumaoro, Dijks; Schouten, Svanberg; Olsen, Soriano, Sansone; Barrow

SM words green background

We say: Sassuolo 2-0 Bologna

Sassuolo are set to extend a period of recent domination over their local counterparts this Saturday, as they have most of their key men back in harness and have lost ground to make up on the teams just above them.

With no apparent resolution to their goalscoring issues on the horizon for Bologna, they may find it tough to breach a Gian Marco Ferrari-marshalled defence and another 4-3 away-win thriller is unlikely this time around.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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Gian Marco Ferrari in action for Sassuolo
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Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
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· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
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· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

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> Today's schedule in full
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