Preview: Cagliari vs. Lecce - prediction, team news, lineups
Source: Sportsmole

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Cagliari and Lecce, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both with four games left to save their Serie A status, relegation battlers Cagliari and Lecce meet in Sardinia on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts trail their visitors by four points after a heavy defeat last time out, and they are still hovering dangerously close to the drop zone.

Match preview Cagliari coach Claudio Ranieri on April 14, 2024 Reuters

Thumped 3-0 by another promoted side on Monday, Cagliari have been left with plenty of work remaining if they are to avoid an immediate return to Italy's second tier.

Genoa scored twice in the first half-hour at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, where the visitors failed to get a foothold in the game and managed just one shot on target.

That result brought an abrupt halt to the Rossoblu's recent move clear of the bottom three, as they had previously held Inter Milan and Juventus to draws after beating Atalanta BC 2-1.

Nonetheless, Claudio Ranieri's men - dramatically promoted through the Serie B playoffs last year - have demonstrated their strength of character on several occasions, winning the most points after trailing in home games this season (14).

By contrast, only struggling Sassuolo have lost more points than Lecce when leading in away matches; so, having lost just one of the teams' last nine league meetings in Sardinia, Cagliari can claim to start as favourites on Sunday.

While their hosts have picked up an impressive 14 points from the last 10 games, Lecce have racked up 12 over the same period and therefore need just a few more to ensure their top-flight survival.

In fact, the Salentini would be all but safe if it were not for an incredible conclusion to their clash with Monza last week, when Nikola Krstovic seemed to snatch victory with a last-gasp thunderbolt only to see his team concede from a 96th-minute penalty.

Even so, holding a seven-point advantage over 18th-placed Udinese leaves them within touching distance of guaranteeing a third straight year in Serie A for next season.

Since the arrival of head coach Luca Gotti, who succeeded Roberto D'Aversa in mid-March, Lecce have taken 11 points from six matches - as many as in their previous 16.

The ex-Spezia boss has also helped an ailing side improve their dire away record, and the Giallorossi have won two of their last three away fixtures ahead of this week's trip to Cagliari.

Cagliari Serie A form:

Lecce Serie A form:

Team News Cagliari's Gianluca Gaetano celebrates scoring their first goal with Yerry Mina on April 19, 2024 Reuters

While Marco Mancosu, Nicolas Viola and Leonardo Pavoletti - the latter pair both known for their 'supersub' heroics - are still ruled out by injury, Cagliari may yet have Alberto Dossena (knee), Yerry Mina (muscular) and Jakub Jankto (ankle) available this weekend.

Claudio Ranieri is also hoping Gaetano Oristanio (hip) passes a fitness test, but Zito Luvumbo is ready to step into the hosts' front line if required, after serving a suspension against Genoa.

The latter is not a guaranteed starter but tops the Rossoblu's charts for goal involvements (nine), most touches in the opposition area (117), and shots attempted - both total (42) and on target (13).

Meanwhile, Lecce will be spearheaded by their new attacking tandem, Roberto Piccoli and Nikola Krstovic, who spent most of this season battling it out for one place before Luca Gotti's arrival.

Kastriot Dermaku, Mohamed Kaba and Lameck Banda are all sidelined by serious knee injuries, but Ylber Ramadani rejoined full training on Thursday and could return to his role in central midfield, lining up alongside captain Alexis Blin.

Cagliari possible starting lineup:Scuffet; Zappa, Dossena, Mina, Augello; Makoumbou, Sulemana; Nandez, Gaetano, Luvumbo; Shomorudov

Lecce possible starting lineup:Falcone; Gendrey, Baschirotto, Pongracic, Gallo; Oudin, Ramadani, Blin, Dorgu; Piccoli, Krstovic

We say: Cagliari 2-2 Lecce Throughout Serie A, Lecce (39%) and Cagliari (36%) have scored the highest share of goals during the final 15 minutes, so nothing will be decided until the final whistle blows. The Salentini have recently started picking up more points on the road, but their hosts never know when they are beaten and should at least avoid defeat.

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