Match Preview: Cagliari

Can Bologna build on their fantastic victory against Sampdoria with a win versus Cagliari?

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The impressive victory against Sampdoria last weekend took Bologna all they way up to 8th place. Now, they seek three points against Cagliari to climb even higher.

Two victories on the bounce has turned Bologna’s season around. Criticism of coach Roberto Donadoni was very evident after four straight losses, but he never questioned his side’s ability. Now, after victories against Verona and Sampdoria, Bologna are in a fantastic position going into December. If Bologna turn up against Cagilari and play the way they did against Sampdoria, then the Sardinian side will stand no chance of getting a result. However, Bologna have not been the most consistent side this season, and three points is therefore not a given. Before the match, Donadoni talked about the season so far, saying:

It’s been good so far but the really important match is tomorrow’s. The performance against Sampdoria can’t remain an isolated incident. We have to always make a mark on that kind of match.

That is the thing, Bologna must have the same mentality going into every game, whether it is Sampdoria, Napoli, or Cagliari who is the opponent. The victory against Sampdoria is wasted if Bologna lose today. However, if Bologna win today then they will be in a better position than what they hoped before the two games. Donadoni also talked about the table:

We’re certainly looking at the table but it doesn’t change our approach to matches. We approach each opponent one at a time, we’re thinking about Cagliari who are tough.

That is the key, to focus on one game at the time, because if the focus shifts to the table, then the results will suffer because of it. Every team in the league has quality, and therefore every game must be approached in the right way. Bologna has a lot of quality, but the key is to prove it in every single game, not only against the likes of Napoli and Inter. The challenge will be how to find a way through the Cagliari defence, as they will most likely defend with all players, and try to create something on the counter. Bologna has struggled this season against those kinds of teams, and it is therefore important to move the ball quickly to try to unsettle their defensive shape.


No excessive changes are expected to the starting line-up. Vasilis Torosidis is suspended, and Adam Masina will most likely come in at left back. In defense, Domenico Maietta and Sebastien De Maio will most likely be the two called upon. They did very well against Sampdoria, and they should therefore not lose their places. Donadoni talked about Maietta before the game, while he also had something to say about Okwonkwo:

Maietta has always been and is an important player for me. Okwonkwo keeps improving, he’s approaching the possibility that he could be used for a full match.

Maietta is a quality player, and his experience was vital against Sampdoria. That he


played as well as he did, despite being thrown into the line-up minutes before kick-off, is quite impressive. It would also be quite interesting to see Orji included from the start of the game. He has done well the few times he has been given the chance this season, and with three goals to his name, he should be included. If it happens today I am not sure about, but I think we will see him play from start soon enough.


The opposition has had a good season thus far, and they are currently in 13th place. They have won five games, and lost nine before the game against Bologna. They have not surprised anyone in the games against the stronger sides, but they have been impressive against the teams close to them in the table. With wins against the likes of Verona, Udinese and Benevento, they are currently five points above relegation. Their leading goalscorer this season has been Joao Pedro, who has four goals to his name, while Diego Farias is the player with most assists (three). Another player who has impressed this season is the young midfielder Nicolò Barella, a player who has a lot of potential, and that has been linked with moves to bigger clubs. He is definitely one to look out for if Bologna are to get something out of the game.

Expected line-ups:

Bologna (4-3-3): Mirante; M’baye, Maietta, De Maio, Masina; Poli, Pulgar, Donsah; Verdi, Destro, Palacio
Cagliari (3-5-2): Rafael; Romagna, Andreolli, Ceppitelli; Farago, Ionita, Cigarini, Barella, Padoin; Pedro, Pavoletti

A very important game for Bologna as they can climb even higher with a win, while a loss can send them down the table. Bologna need to avoid underestimating Cagliari. A victory against Sampdoria does not mean that Cagliari will be easy. If Bologna pick up where they left of against Sampdoria though, then they will most likely get a positive result today.

What do you think the result will be? Share your thoughts on the game in the comments!


Photo: Bologna FC

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