Cagliari v Fiorentina – Sardegna Arena at 19:30 GMT at Premier Sports
Cagliari head coach Rolando Maran remains at risk of the sack after seeing his side suffer a damaging 2-0 defeat at fellow relegation-battlers Bologna last weekend. The Sardinians remain five points above the Serie A drop zone, although their away day struggles have stunted any signs of progress.
Before travelling to Bologna, Maran insisted the match was decisive. However, the loss was the Rossoblu’s eighth in 12 league matches since mid-December with Cagliari now claiming only six triumphs across their 27 games this season. The pressure therefore remains on Maran’s shoulders to keep the club afloat.
Returning back to the Sardegna Arena should at least give Cagliari hope. Paolo Farago and Luca Cigarini will return from suspension and creative midfielder Valter Birsa was back in the squad last weekend, bolstering Maran’s options as they bid to enhance an already-impressive return on home soil.
The islanders have lost just twice in 13 here this season – against Napoli and Atalanta – whilst holding both Milan clubs, Roma, Torino and Sampdoria in Sardinia under Maran. Friday night’s hosts have only conceded more than a solitary strike on two occasions this term and tend to be obdurate opponents.
Hosts can pick up a positive result
Although season-long performance data shines a dim light on progress at Cagliari – . the Rossoblu ranke in the bottom-five across a range of metrics – their ability to grind as hosts shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly against flaky travellers such as Fiorentina this weekend.
La Viola have taken top honours in only three away days in 2018/19 and 17/52 (33%) of games as guests in Serie A under current boss Stefano Pioli. The Florence club have triumphed only four times in their most recent 20 league outings and recorded only four shutouts in that same sample.
Such alarming recent form make a mockery of Fiorentina quotes to win at a shade of odds-against and therefore, taking Cagliari with a +0.50 start on the Asian Handicap line around 1.70 holds plenty of appeal.
With La Viola hovering in mid-table, Pioli is already being linked with a summer exit and with little left to play for the visitors could easily come unstuck in Sardinia on Friday night.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Cagliari +0.50 at 1.700
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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