Soccer Italy Serie A 19 March 2023
Fiorentina vs Lecce - Match Preview
Fiorentina enter the last Serie A (SA) round before the international break after a 4-1 win in the UEFA Europa Conference League over Sivasspor on Thursday, making it six straight wins in all competitions as they secured progression to quarter-finals. They’ve also won three straight league games and moved to within a point of the top half ahead of this round, a gap they’ll be looking to plug in the remainder of this campaign.
If Vincenzo Italiano’s men keep their current form going, challenging for the European places can’t be ruled out, with the Viola trailing the top seven by just four points ahead of the weekend. However, a better start would be welcomed here as the hosts are yet to lead a home game at half-time since January 12, failing to score before the break in five of the seven matches in that sequence.
Unlike their hosts, Lecce have now suffered three consecutive defeats without finding the net after they lost to Torino 2-0 last time out. In spite of that defeat, a comfortable eight-point gap to the bottom three should keep the mood high in their camp, although Marco Baroni’s men will be eager to avoid their first run of four SA defeats ’to-nil’ since 2019.
That being said, Lecce has won three of their last four SA trips to Stadio Artemio Franchi (D1), despite scoring just once in three of those matches. Any goalmouth action is unlikely to arrive in the latter stages though, as Lecce's matches have seen the fewest goals in the last 30 minutes of play in SA this season (11).
📋 Players to watch: Fiorentina will be hoping for Luka Jović to score as they’ve won eight of his nine goalscoring matches this season (L1). Alexis Blin remains the last Lecce’s player to score as he acted decisively in their 2-1 away win against Atalanta.
⚡ Hot stat: Lecce has opened the scoring and netted exactly twice in all four of their away league win this term.
Torino vs Napoli - Match Preview
Torino’s pursuit of the Serie A (SA) European places continues to gather steam after they saw off newly-promoted Lecce 2-0 in their last outing, with those goals arriving within a period of just three minutes. Ivan Jurić has injected a steely determination into his side which has made them difficult to beat, emphasised by a return of just three SA losses in their last 13 outings (W5, D5).
The Granata are also solid on home soil where they’ve lost only one of their last seven league games (W4, D2), while their eight goals conceded on their own turf this term is the second-best such record in the league ahead of the round. Torino knows that’ll be extremely difficult to maintain against runaway leaders Napoli however, who’ve won eight of the last ten H2Hs on this ground in league action (D1, L1).
The Blues will be looking to build on that record and take another step closer to their first Scudetto since 1990 with another triumph here. Napoli’s 18-point gap at the summit now appears completely unassailable, and they transferred their irresistible form to Europe, brushing Eintracht Frankfurt aside 5-0 on aggregate to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.
Manager Luciano Spalletti said it’s ‘fundamental we maintain the same attitude’ from the second leg 3-0 success, and their dominant away form is likely to inspire further success as they’ve won six straight games on the road without conceding a single goal! Rather unsurprisingly, that’s helped Napoli to the best record of any side in the piston on their travels (W11, D1), with Inter the only side to beat them in an away SA game this term.
📋 Players to watch: Torino frontman Antonio Sanabria has directly contributed to a goal in each of his last four appearances (G3, A1), although he’s lost all four of his career meetings with Napoli. It’s the opposite story for Partenopei midfielder Piotr Zieliński, who has won 12 personal H2Hs against Torino (D5, L1) - only winning more against Udinese and Lazio throughout his career (14).
⚡ Hot streak: Torino boss Jurić has lost all seven career meetings with Spalletti - his longest run without a victory against any manager in his career!
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