Cagliari will be looking to boost their hopes of Serie A survival when they welcome Sassuolo to the Sardegna Arena on Saturday.
Seven of the last eight meetings between these two sides have ended as a draw, including the 2-2 stalemate in November’s reverse fixture.
After accumulating nine points from five league matches between January 23 and February 27, which helped them to climb out of the relegation zone, Cagliari have since suffered five straight defeats and their hopes of survival are still hanging in the balance.
Three of those defeats were on home soil, although they were not expected to win any of them as they were against Lazio, AC Milan and Juventus.
The Islanders made a bright start in last weekend’s game against the latter, with Joao Pedro opening the scoring in the 10th minute, but goals from Matthijs De Ligt and Dusan Vlahovic helped Juve to come from behind and claim maximum points.
Walter Mazzarri’s men remain 17th in the Serie A standings, hovering just one place and three points above the relegation zone, with 18th-placed Venezia – who Cagliari face on the final day of the season – having a game in hand.
Cagliari will be desperate to turn their fortunes around and if they were to claim all three points on Saturday, they would end their 11-game winless run against Sassuolo across all competitions.
Sassuolo’s Gian Marco Ferrari celebrates scoring their second goal with Abdou Harroui and Gregoire Defrel on December 1, 2021© Reuters
Sassuolo bounced back from their 2-1 defeat at Lazio with a victory by the same scoreline at home against Atalanta BC last weekend.
A brace from Hamed Traore – who has now scored six goals in his last eight matches – put the hosts two goals in front, and although Luis Muriel pulled one back in stoppage time, the Neroverdi held on for all three points.
That result has seen Alessio Dionisi’s side move up to ninth in the table, but they will need a near-perfect end to the campaign if they are to have any hope of closing the nine-point gap to Lazio in sixth.
Sassuolo now have identical home and away records after 32 league matches this term, winning six, drawing five and losing five games each both at and away from the Mapri Stadium.
Only league leaders AC Milan have scored as many as Sassuolo’s 33 goals on the road so far this season. In fact, the Neroverdi have only failed to score in one of their 16 away games this campaign, when they suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat against Sampdoria in February.
Sassuolo have found the net in each of their last eight meetings with Cagliari, but have only come away as the winning side on two of those occasions, including the 1-0 Coppa Italia win in January.