The goal for Inter Milan at this point is simple, finish in the top four and ensure a spot in next year’s Champions League. Although the club is still alive in the Europa League and can that way, it would be easier to maintain their place in Serie A then beat out 15 other teams for the Europa League title and a bid into the Champions League as a result. Internazionale currently sit in third place in the table with 47 points, but city rivals AC Milan are just two points back and AS Roma sit three points behind. They are looking to avoid any slip-ups, but they have a tricky road test off the Italian mainland against Cagliari this week.
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Cagliari vs. Inter Milan
- Date and Time: March 1, 2019, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Sardinia
- US Television Coverage: ESPN News
- Betting Line: Inter Milan -0.5 and -1, O/U 2.5
Playing on an island has its advantages. Cagliari is based on Sardinia, which is in the Mediterranean Sea and located nearly 360 kilometers off the coast of Italy. Unsurprisingly, visiting teams usually don’t fare well on the island. Cagliari is 4-6-2 in Serie A matches this season, and 75 percent of the team’s points have come at home. They need all the home cooking they can get in their fight to avoid relegation, as they have lost four of their last five and have failed to score in each of those losses.
Inter Milan have won two of their last three matches, and they certainly feel like it should be three straight following last week’s VAR marred match against Fiorentina. They were up 3-1 at one point in the second half, and they looked set to hold on for a 3-2 win before the referee pointed to the spot and awarded Fiorentina a penalty in the sixth minute of extra time. The resulting review and argument led to Fiorentina scoring the latest goal in recent Serie A history (the 11th minute of extra time), to make the final a 3-3 draw.
Getting a result this time will be difficult for Cagliari. They have been hard-hit by injuries, as Lucas Nahuel Castro is out for the season and Ragnar Klavan will miss another four weeks. Alessandro Deiola won’t play because of yellow card accumulation either, further robbing them of depth. Alberto Cerri, Kiril Despodov, Valter Birsa, and Cyril Thereau are all listed as questionable, while Fabrizio Cacciatore is probable.
Sime Vrsaljko is out for the remainder of the season for Inter, and that’s a pretty big loss. The Mauro Icardi saga continues to drag on too, and the club’s leading scorer has now missed four straight matches and he has been stripped of his captaincy. Andrea Palazzi is considered questionable to play on Friday.
Cagliari Player to Watch
Leonardo Pavoletti will have to find the mark for Cagliari to get points here. Pavoletti leads the team with nine of Cagliari’s 21 goals, but he has yet to score against any of the top eight teams in Serie A.
Inter Milan Player to Watch
With Icardi out, Inter’s goals have to come from somewhere, and they are starting to lean on Matteo Politano. Politano has three goals and three assists in Serie A play, and he has scored in two straight matches coming into this game. He is a danger running up the wing, so Inter will look to beat Cagliari through Politano’s speed.
Cagliari vs. Inter Milan Free Picks
The first meeting between these two clubs ended in a 2-0 win for Inter Milan, and I see another shutout in order for Inter. Cagliari’s scoring woes and inability to break through against top teams will be the story in a 1-0 Inter win.
Cagliari vs. Inter Milan Prediction: Inter Milan 1, Cagliari 0
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