Jan 30, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Inter MilanInter Milan
Improta (7' og.), Martinez (57'), Lukaku (67', 78')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Caldirola (28'), Depaoli (32')

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

:Headline: Preview: Inter Milan vs. Benevento - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:432578: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Benevento, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having spurned the chance to be crowned Italy's 'winter champions' last week, Inter Milan bounced back to beat their city rivals in a fiery cup clash ahead of Saturday's visit of Benevento.

With the ripples from a seismic Milan derby still being felt around the peninsula, Antonio Conte now prepares his men for the challenge of old Azzurri teammate Pippo Inzaghi's overachieving side.

Match preview

Tuesday's drama-packed Derby della Madonnina success in the Coppa Italia quarter-final saw Inter progress to a similarly tantalising semi-final with Juventus, as the Nerazzurri seized victory in the dying moments through Christian Eriksen's sublime free kick.

Against ten-man Milan - depleted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic's dismissal - it was Conte's side that fully merited the win, which earned a measure of revenge for their league defeat to the same opposition in the autumn.

Still second in the standings with 41 points - just two less than leaders Milan - they have stumbled somewhat in their last five games, after having stormed to eight successive victories beforehand. Two wins, two draws and one defeat to Sampdoria in that spell leaves Inter very much in contention for their first Scudetto in a decade.

With modest Benevento next to visit San Siro, the Nerazzurri have won their last six home league games, meanwhile maintaining their tag as Serie A's top scorers. In fact, since the restart of the top five European Leagues post-lockdown, only Bayern Munich have registered more goals than Inter's 77.

Without a goal in his last four outings - and dropped (or 'rested', depending on interpretation) for Alexis Sanchez in midweek - forward Lautaro Martinez will be keen to rekindle his potent goal-getting partnership with Romelu Lukaku this weekend, as Saturday's visitors have one of the leakiest defences in the league.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Benevento have lost all three of their previous top-flight encounters with Inter - including a 5-2 home drubbing at the start of the season.

After an unexpected 4-1 loss to fellow promoted outfit Crotone the week before, last time out they surged into a two-goal lead against Torino through a Nicolas Viola penalty and Gianluca Lapadula's strike, but Simone Zaza ultimately sealed a gritty Granata comeback with two second-half goals - the second of which came deep into stoppage time.

Nonetheless, at the halfway point of the season, the Streghe have certainly exceeded all expectations, having picked up a full 18 points more than in their last shot at the elite level in 2017-18.

Comfortably in mid-table despite a recent dip which has seen Pippo Inzaghi's side claim just one point from their last three outings, the Campanian club's commitment to progressive principles has been both laudable and effective so far.

Sampdoria wing-back Fabio Depaoli signed for Benevento on loan terms earlier this week, after a stint with Atalanta was cut short due to lack of playing time. With an option to buy at the end of the season, the Benevento hierarchy may even be daring to plan for a second successive top-flight campaign next year.

Formerly a prolific goalscorer for both of Inter's arch-rivals Juventus and Milan, Benevento boss Inzaghi would dearly love to get one over on Inter. Anything gleaned from this weekend's venture to the second city's cathedral of Calcio, however, would be a significant bonus, as upcoming clashes with both Samp and Bologna offer more reasonable hopes of success.

Inter Milan Serie A form: WWLDWD
Inter Milan form (all competitions): LDWWDW

Benevento Serie A form: WLWLLD

Team News

Antonio Conte's squad continue to steer clear of illness and injury, with only Danilo D'Ambrosio still unavailable and the versatile defender is not expected to return until some time next month.

After a little rotation for the Coppa Italia win on Tuesday, the Inter coach is expected to recall Alessandro Bastoni for Aleksandr Kolarov, while Achraf Hakimi and should return at wing-back. Lautaro Martinez is certain to start too, as alternative option Alexis Sanchez is embroiled in an unfolding transfer deal which would seem him swap places with outcast Edin Dzeko at Roma.

Christian Eriksen and Andrea Ranocchia are set for rare starts, as both Stefan de Vrij and Marcelo Brozovic take a breather ahead of Tuesday's clash with Juventus.

Benevento, on the other hand, have defenders Gaetano Letizia, Daam Foulon and Massimo Volta plus striker Gabriele Moncini out through injury, while Marco Sau is suspended. Fellow forward Roberto Insigne is struggling with an ankle problem, so may only be fit for the bench.

In the absence of Sau and Insigne, star striker Gianluca Lapadula will be supported by Gianluca Caprari - who bagged a brace when these side met at Stadio Ciro Vigorito in September - and either Iago Falque or Nicolas Viola.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Eriksen, Gagliardini, Perisic; Martinez, Lukaku

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Glik, Caldirola, Barba; Depaoli, Ionita, Hetemaj, Viola, Improta; Caprari, Lapadula

We say: Inter Milan 3-1 Benevento

Even taking the visitors' 'surprise package' label into account, it is hard to foresee any result other than an Inter win this Saturday.

The great number of attacking options - particularly out wide - available to the Nerazzurri should see them breach Benevento's back line on more than one occasion at San Siro, to keep the pressure on leaders Milan.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data

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Serie A Table
1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420
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