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May 26, 2022 at 7.30pm UK at U-Power Stadium
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Preview: Monza vs. Pisa - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Monza vs. Pisa - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Serie B playoff final first-leg clash between Monza and Pisa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Seeking promotion to Serie A, Monza will welcome Pisa to the Stadio Brianteo for the first leg of their Serie B playoff final on Thursday.

Both sides narrowly missed out on automatic promotion in the regular season, as they both finished just two points behind Cremonese in second.

Match preview

Monza's hopes of securing promotion to the Italian top flight for the first time in their history remain alive after they beat Brescia 4-2 on aggregate in the playoff semi-finals.

I Biancorossi came from behind to win 2-1 in the first leg away from home, with a brace from Christian Gytkjaer turning the tie on its head, before Giovanni Stroppa's men came from behind again to win by the same scoreline in the second leg on Sunday, with Marco D'Alessandro netting a dramatic 94th-minute winner to seal their place in the final.

Monza have put together a seven-game unbeaten run on home soil, including five victories, but they head into Thursday's clash having lost their last home game to Pisa, suffering a 2-1 defeat in February.

I Biancorossi are in fact searching for their first victory in any competition against Pisa since June 2006 when they won 1-0 in the Serie C playoff final.

While there were plenty of goals in Monza's semi-final, only twice did the ball hit the back of the net in Pisa's semi-final clash win Benevento.

Gianluca Lapadula's 85th-minute strike secured a slender 1-0 win for Gli Stregoni in the first leg, before Ahmad Benali levelled the tie on aggregate with a goal in the 11th minute in the reverse fixture.

Despite the tie ending 1-1 on aggregate, Pisa have progressed through to the final as Serie B's current rules state that the team who finished higher in the regular season advance if the tie is level, with no extra time or penalties required.

Luca D'Angelo's men have therefore scraped through by the skin of their teeth, and as this rule also applies in the final, they have the advantage over Monza as they finished above them in the Serie B table based on their head-to-head record.

Pisa beat Monza 2-1 in both league fixtures earlier this season and have won four of their last five meetings against them, so they will be in high spirits heading into Thursday's contest.

Monza Serie B form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Pisa Serie B form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Monza right wing-back Pedro Pereira, who missed the last match with a sprained ankle, is unlikely to feature on Thursday, with Salvatore Molina set to get the nod as a result.

Stroppa is expected to stick with a 3-5-2 formation, with Luca Caldirola, Luca Marrone and Lorenzo Pirola all set to keep their places at centre-back.

Gytkjaer and Dany Mota, who have both scored 11 goals this season, are the two most likely candidates to lead the line in attack.

As for Pisa, club captain Antonio Caracciolo remains sidelined as he continues to recover from an ACL injury, which could keep him out until December.

Adam Nagy is expected to operate in centre-midfield alongside Marius Marin and Giuseppe Mastinu, while Reading loanee George Puscas is set to start up front with former Monza striker Ernesto Torregrossa.

Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; Caldirola, Marrone, Pirola; Molina, Ciurria, Barberis, Mazzitelli, Augusto; Mota, Gytkjaer

Pisa possible starting lineup:
Nicolas; Birindelli, Leverbe, Hermannsson, Beruatto; Mastinu, Nagy, Marin; Benali; Puscas, Torregrossa

We say: Monza 1-1 Pisa

Pisa have scored in each of their last five meetings against Monza and have not lost during this run, while the latter have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last six home games.

A closely-fought contest is set to be played out at the Stadio Brianteo, and while Pisa have fared better in this fixture in recent years, we feel that Monza will do enough to claim at least a draw to keep the tie alive heading into Sunday's second leg.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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