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Apr 12, 2021 at 7.45pm UK

Tuia (55'), Schiattarella (58'), Letizia (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Barba (45' og.)
Marco Ferrari (12'), Magnanelli (64')

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

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

The closing match of Serie A's 30th round sees relegation battlers Benevento welcome a Sassuolo side struggling for form to Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Monday.

With Pippo Inzaghi's home side only two places clear of the drop zone, they will be aiming for all three points against their mid-table Emilian counterparts, who have won only once since February.

Match preview

Ahead of their Monday night clash with Sassuolo, 16th-placed Benevento's last Serie A victory at their Vigorito headquarters came as far back as mid-December. Since then, they have picked up just four points from eight subsequent games there: only at the start of their hapless first stint in the top flight in 2017 have they previously waited longer for a home win.

They have, though, posted three times the number of points at this stage of the season they had at the same point of that disastrous 2017-18 campaign. Despite sitting just a couple of places above the dreaded dotted line, Pippo Inzaghi's men are eight points clear of the bottom three heading into the weekend's action and are in with a fighting chance of survival.

Though one of the sides below them, Parma, managed to fight back twice to steal a point against the Streghe last week - as Dennis Man's late volley deprived the hosts of a much-needed three points - their shock 1-0 win at Juventus before the international break has given a boost to both their points tally and their morale.

That headline-grabbing success by the Serie B champions against their top tier equivalents has been their only one in 13 matches played since the start of January.

Mid-season signing Adolfo Gaich netted the all-important goal that day and the Argentinian's arrival on loan from CSKA Moscow has provided a pick-me-up for Inzaghi's ailing attack, as Gianluca Caprari, on just five goals, remains the club's top scorer so far.

Having scored fewer goals than every other side but last Saturday's lowly opponents, the Campanians will need to find final-third inspiration from anywhere they can get it during the upcoming run-in.

The very first Serie A point that Benevento recorded in their history belatedly came in December 2017, under current Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi: a memorable 2-2 draw with AC Milan, secured due to goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli's unlikely 95th-minute header.

Since that difficult spell in charge at the Vigorito, the much-admired De Zerbi has established his current club as a regular feature in the top half of Serie A standings. Though they are well set for another such finish this season, the wheels have started to come off his well-oiled machine in recent weeks.

Far clear of danger, but also distant from the European places, the only remaining goal for Sassuolo this term is to contest eighth spot with fellow overachievers Verona.

After a 2-1 defeat to leaders Inter in midweek, the Neroverdi's tally of 48 goals conceded is better only than four of the bottom five in the table, and the frequent absences of key forward pairing Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo - who have scored 22 goals combined this season - are taking their toll on the side's output at the other end.

Both Italy strikers have recently been ruled out with injuries sustained on international duty and are much missed by a team now hoping to avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

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

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

Team News

Star strikers Domenico Berardi (thigh) and Francesco Caputo (back) could be ruled out once again for Sassuolo, with midfielder Mehdi Bourabia (hamstring), French forward Gregoire Defrel (thigh) and long-term injury absentee Filippo Romagna (knee) all unlikely to make their comebacks yet.

Eleven-goal forward Caputo does have a better chance than his Azzurri colleague to make a return on Monday, so could join local boy Giacomo Raspadori in attack if passed fit, with in-form Hamed Traore unable to feature due to an untimely suspension.

The club's other Italian internationals, Gian Marco Ferrari and Manuel Locatelli, have returned negative COVID-19 tests and will be considered for selection by Roberto De Zerbi, but Kaan Ayhan has tested positive for the virus and must self-isolate.

With Ferrari and Locatelli potentially coming back into the first XI, Vlad Chiriches and on-loan Maxime Lopez - who this week confirmed his intent to make his stay permanent in the summer - are most likely to drop out.

The home side have a full complement of players ahead of the Neroverdi's visit, as injured pair Gaetano Letizia and Iago Falque returned to action last week.

Experienced centre-back Kamil Glik also came back from suspension - and three subsequent appearances for Poland - to score against Parma and should continue to marshal the Giallorossi defence, regardless of whether they opt for a back four or a three.

There has been speculation that Pippo Inzaghi will switch to his occasionally employed 4-3-2-1 setup instead of Benevento's more frequent 3-5-2, which might see Falque coming in as one of a pair supporting Adolfo Gaich in attack.

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Letizia, Tuia, Glik, Barba; Hetemaj, Schiattarella, Ionita; Falque, Caprari; Gaich

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Ferrari, Marlon, Rogerio; Obiang, Locatelli; Haraslin, Djuricic, Boga; Raspadori

We say: Benevento 2-1 Sassuolo

Their stunning success against Juventus has undoubtedly restored momentum to the Benevento bandwagon after a period of tail-spinning towards the trapdoor - with their attack now functional, if not firing.

Though an increasingly aimless - but often entertaining - Sassuolo showed up well in clashes with top sides Roma and Inter, they have found life hard on the road since the turn of the year and are still short of full strength.

The home side could capitalise, then, taking one substantial step closer to Serie A salvation when the clock runs out next month.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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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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