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Dec 15, 2021 at 2pm UK
EmpoliEmpoli
3-4
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona
Cancellieri (18'), Ilic (86'), Ragusa (88')
Sutalo (90+1'), Hongla (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-1)
La Mantia (15'), Mancuso (66' pen., 70'), Bajrami (74')
Stulac (38'), Romagnoli (45+4'), Cutrone (90+2')
La Mantia (90+3')

Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Coppa Italia clash between Hellas Verona and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two of Serie A's most impressive sides of late meet on Wednesday, as Hellas Verona and Empoli clash in the Coppa Italia second round.

While the Gialloblu have improved significantly under Igor Tudor and are back among the mid-table pack, their visitors return to cup action having won three of their last four in the league.


Match preview

A week after their stunning comeback against local rivals Venezia, when they came back from three goals down to win 4-3, Verona looked set for another positive result at the weekend when they took the lead through in-form striker Giovanni Simeone at home to Atalanta.

However, the home side were pulled back to 1-1 before the break, before Teun Koopmeiners struck with a deflected effort which consigned them to defeat.

Sunday's loss not only saw Hellas slip back into the bottom half, but also ended their unbeaten run at the Bentegodi at seven games - still their best home streak in nearly 20 years. Nonetheless, they remain a side transformed from that which started the season under former boss Eusebio Di Francesco.

Indeed, the only competitive victory of Di Francesco's ill-fated tenure was in the Coppa Italia first round, where they cruised past Catanzaro 3-0 in mid-August.

Having beaten Roma, Lazio and Juventus since ex-Juve assistant Igor Tudor took charge - plus held Napoli to a draw - Verona's Serie A form has certainly enthused their fans, who had feared a relegation fight under the previous regime.

Another of the Scaligieri's successes under the Croatian coach came at the hands of this week's Coppa opponents, when they came out on top with a stoppage-time winner just under a month ago, so they will hope to replicate that result on Wednesday.

Despite the Bentegodi being a tough place to visit this term, Empoli will travel north full of confidence following their latest upset win of a rousing Serie A return.

In curious fashion, Patrick Cutrone struck the only goal on Sunday evening, as the Tuscan side toppled Scudetto-chasing Napoli at Stadio Maradona despite facing a remarkable 30 shots at their goal.

An eighth league win of the season takes them into the top eight - three points ahead of Verona in the standings - surpassing all expectations when they set out in September as Serie B champions.

Now unbeaten in four games, picking up three wins in the process, Empoli return to the Coppa Italia with hopes of at least matching last season's feat of reaching the last 16, where they were beaten 3-2 by Napoli in an entertaining encounter.

They started this year's run with a win over Verona's bitterest rivals Vicenza, back in August, when they were 4-2 winners at the Castellani. A win this week against another Veneto outfit would see them through to the third round, where Calcio's big boys await.

Hellas Verona Coppa Italia form:
  • W

Hellas Verona form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Empoli Coppa Italia form:
  • W

Empoli form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Verona recently saw first-choice defender Pawel Dawidowicz ruled out for the remainder of the season following surgery on his cruciate ligament, so Igor Tudor is likely to keep faith with Giangiacomo Magnani, Nicolo Casale and Federico Ceccherini as his back three, though Atalanta loanee Bosko Sutalo is another option.

After sitting out the win over Venezia due to illness, Antonin Barak returned to the squad on Sunday and could now start, while captain Miguel Veloso is another who will hope to be promoted from the bench.

As Nikola Kalinic is not expected to return from a calf injury until next year, 12-goal top scorer Giovanni Simeone should start up front, but Kevin Lasagna made a rare appearance at the weekend and could deputise if Tudor opts to give the Argentinian striker a rest.

Once again, Empoli coach Aurelio Andreazzoli enjoys a clean bill of health, so should stick with a familiar 4-3-1-2 setup, though some of the faces may change.

After a spell out of favour, Nedim Bajrami - who has netted three times in his last two Coppa appearances - scored in the recent win over Udinese and could start in support of on-loan forward Andrea Pinamonti. Four forwards, including Sunday's match winner Patrick Cutrone, are battling it out for the other striking spot.

Talented prospects Samuele Ricci and Mattia Viti are set to be involved too, with the latter coming into the visitors' back four.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Ujkani; Stojanovic, Romagnoli, Viti, Parisi; Haas, Ricci, Zurkowski; Bajrami; Pinamonti, La Mantia

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Pandur; Sutalo, Casale, Magnani; Faraoni, Tameze, Veloso, Lazovic; Barak, Caprari; Lasagna


We say: Hellas Verona 2-1 Empoli

Given Empoli have won twice as many league games as they have lost on the road, they will be a stern proposition for Verona to face in their second round tie.

Nonetheless, home advantage has spurred the Gialloblu on to greater heights over the past couple of months, and their rejuvenated front line can see them through what is sure to be a close-fought encounter.


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3AC Milan18123336201639
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5Juventus19104527171034
6Roma18101730201031
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16VeneziaVenezia184591731-1417
17SpeziaSpezia1834111839-2113
18Genoa1918101937-1811
19CagliariCagliari1917111740-2310
20Salernitana1822141142-318
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