Cagliari-Inter Preview: Nerazzurri travel in search of vital victory
Andrea Stramaccioni's men have won just two of their last seven games so must pick up all three points in order to revive their campaign to qualify for the Champions League
By Tom Webber
Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Murru
Dessena, Conti, Ekdal
Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan
Zanetti, Kovacic, Cambiasso, Pereira
Inter must bring to end a run of poor form when they travel south to face Cagliari if they are to make a late surge to ensure European qualification.
Their hosts, who entertain their opponents in Trieste following safety issues surrounding their home stadium, will be without the injured Francesco Pisano and Radja Nainggolan who miss out due to suspension.
Therefore, Gabriele Perico (who is 50/50) could fill in at right-back while Albin Ekdal is restored to the starting line-up. Mauricio Pinilla is another Isolani star who good shake off an injury to play up front for the hosts.
Inter threw away a 3-1 lead against Atalanta in their last Serie A game yet Andrea Stramaccioni is unlikely to make major changes to his side.
Antonio Cassano will be replaced after being forced to leave the previous game early through injury and Yuto Nagatomo is also a doubt. Ezequiel Schelotto will have to settle for role of spectator after picking up a red card against his former club last weekend.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Cagliari have failed to beat Sunday's opponents in their last five meetings, drawing two.
- Marco Sau (pictured, right) scored both goals as the Rossoblu picked up a point at San Siro earlier this season.
- The Islanders have lost only one of their previous 12 league games and only twice in this calendar year.
- Inter currently stand eight points adrift of arch-rivals Milan in third position and the final qualification spot for next season's Champions League.
- The Nerazzurri have only managed to triumph on two of their last nine league games away from San Siro.
Tommaso Rocchi will be the only recognised striker available to Andrea Stramaccioni - Diego Milito, Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano are all out injured.
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Top 3 Predictions
Cagliari 0-2 FC Internazionale
- 19.83 %
Cagliari 1-2 FC Internazionale
- 15.16 %
Cagliari 1-3 FC Internazionale
- 10.79 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 23, 2014||FC Internazionale 1 - Cagliari 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 29, 2013||Cagliari 1 - FC Internazionale 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 14, 2013||Cagliari 2 - FC Internazionale 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Nov 18, 2012||FC Internazionale 2 - Cagliari 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 7, 2012||Cagliari 2 - FC Internazionale 2|
|Mar 8, 2014||Catania 1 - Cagliari 1||ITA1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Cagliari 3 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Feb 23, 2014||FC Internazionale 1 - Cagliari 1||ITA1|
|Feb 16, 2014||Cagliari 1 - Livorno 2||ITA1|
|Feb 9, 2014||Sampdoria 1 - Cagliari 0||ITA1|
The 25-year-old striker is his team's highest scoring player this season with 11 goals in 25 league appearances. Two of those strikes came in the previous encounter between the pair earlier this season so he will be full of confidence going into the fixture. His partnership with Mauricio Pinilla is beginning to prove dangerous for the Rossoblu and any chance of securing points will largely rest upon their performances.
The Argentine scored twice after coming off the bench to replace the injured Antonio Cassano last week against Atalanta. However, despite his goals his team still went down 4-3 and so he knows that another top performance will be needed to help Inter to victory. Having not been an integral part of the first team this season Alvarez will be hopeful of ending the campaign with a positive run of form to launch his inconsistent team towards Champions League qualification for next season.
Inter have been conceding goals at an alarming rate in recent weeks and with a large number of injuries it may be difficult for the visitors to turn their recent form around. Therefore, although Cagliari may be missing the influential Radja Nainggolan they could still cause the Nerazzurri some problems at the back. Andrea Stramaccioni will be keen to leave Trieste with all three points but must ensure his team do not leave themselves exposed at the back.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed