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Apr 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
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Pedro (55' pen.)
Pavoletti (45'), Nainggolan (59')

Preview: Udinese vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Udinese and Cagliari, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

After their incredible last-gasp comeback at the weekend, relegation battlers Cagliari travel to meet mid-table Udinese on Wednesday, needing another win to boost their hopes of survival.

Beating bottom three rivals Parma thanks to two goals in added time renews morale in the visitors' camp ahead of the trip north, while their hosts took advantage of Serie B-bound Crotone's generosity to post a first win in five.

Match preview

Staring into the abyss at 3-1 down with more than an hour played on Saturday, Cagliari clawed their way back from the brink to steal a 4-3 victory over Parma, retaining hope of a late revival in their quest to avoid demotion.

Knowing failure would make relegation a near-certainty, the spirited Sardinians trailed for almost all of the 90 minutes but equalised in the 91st, before Alberto Cerri's 94th-minute headed winner sparked wild celebrations at the Sardegna Arena.

Though Leonardo Semplici's side are still trailing Torino, who also have a game in hand, three precious points have helped to keep some of their fellow strugglers within range.

That spectacular weekend win made a mockery of an otherwise bleak goalscoring record this year, as Cagliari are the team that have failed to score in the most matches in 2021 and - before the Parma free-for-all - were the side with the joint-worst shot conversion rate throughout the whole campaign.

With time fast running out, the Isolani need to retain their new-found attacking intent, as they can afford few slip-ups during the run-in.

Having now won each of their last five league games against sides in the bottom three, they will have to start picking up points versus Serie A's also-rans, such as Udinese, who have little left to play for.

Certainly, with a fixture list featuring Roma, Napoli and Milan in the final few weeks, the proud island club's future is on the line this Wednesday.

Sitting comfortably in mid-table despite a recent downturn, Udinese bounced back from a third successive reverse last week - each coming by the margin of a single goal - to beat Serie A whipping boys Crotone 2-1 in Calabria.

Once again, captain and top scorer Rodrigo De Paul hogged the headlines on Saturday, as the in-demand playmaker bagged a brace before being dismissed in the final throes for a reckless high challenge.

As the Bianconeri's top scorers are Argentinian midfield pair De Paul (with eight goals) and Roberto Pereyra (four), their attack has clearly been absent without leave this term.

One of the lowest-scoring offensive units in the league have registered four fewer than even stone-last Crotone and Luca Gotti's latest front pairing of Stefano Okaka and Ilija Nestorovski emerged empty-handed against one of Europe's leakiest defences.

Nonetheless, that win keeps the Zebrette in with a shot of securing a top-half finish next month - a feat which looked a distant prospect in late 2020, as Gotti's team sat alongside their midweek opponents Cagliari at the wrong end of the table.

Udinese Serie A form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Cagliari Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Udinese prepare for Cagliari's visit with most of their squad available - the chief exception being suspended skipper Rodrigo De Paul - though long-term injury victims Ignacio Pussetto, Gerard Deulofeu and Mato Jajalo are ruled out until next season.

German midfielder Tolgay Arslan is leading the running to replace De Paul in the hosts' midfield three, while coach Luca Gotti surprisingly started Stefano Okaka and Ilija Nestorovski up front at Crotone - citing management of fitness levels - and could instead play Fernando Llorente alongside either the latter or Fernando Forestieri.

In addition to injury victims Marko Rog and Riccardo Sottil, first-choice Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno may also be absent on Wednesday, as one of several Italian players testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty.

Unless the much-admired stopper returns a negative test before kickoff, Udine-born Guglielmo Vicario will continue to deputise between the posts upon his return to the city.

After his goal on Saturday evening, Leonardo Pavoletti is favourite ahead of Giovanni Simeone to partner top-scoring skipper Joao Pedro for the visitors - with matchwinner Alberto Cerri again expected to make an impact from the bench.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Bonifazi, Nuytinck, Samir; Molina, Arslan, Walace, Pereyra, Larsen; Nestorovski, Llorente

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Klavan, Godin, Rugani; Nandez, Marin, Nainggolan, Duncan, Lykogiannis; Pavoletti, Joao Pedro

We say: Udinese 0-1 Cagliari

Given both teams' final-third shortcomings this term, a low-scoring affair could be in prospect - even if Cagliari's late goal explosion on Saturday showed what they are capable of with backs to the wall.

The visitors can stay in with an outside shot of extending their four-year stay in the top flight by taking the points back to Sardinia, as the home side will lack inspiration without go-to man Rodrigo De Paul.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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/Draw:data

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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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