Bologna VS Inter Milan, side with Inter

Posted Sat, 03 Apr 2021 00:19:54 GMT        

Match Time:4/4/2021 02:45 Sunday  (GMT+8)

Italian Serie A --  Bologna   VS   Inter Milan

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Match preview

Inter's most recent fixture, against Sassuolo, was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Nerazzurri squad, which ultimately delayed the departure of several of their stars for international duty, as they were initially not allowed to leave Milan.

 

As the Lega Calcio confirmed that the re-scheduled game will now be played next Wednesday - at the same time as Juventus and Napoli's previously postponed 'ghost game' - Antonio Conte's men will start the final stretch of their quest for success with two quickfire matches against mid-table opponents from Emilia.

 

With the feeling growing that it is only a matter of time before Inter are confirmed champions - after a decade of looking on from the sidelines as bitter rivals Juventus lifted trophy after trophy - the leaders have first-choice stalwarts Samir Handanovic and Stefan de Vrij available again on Saturday, after the pair recovered from the virus during a fortuitously-timed international hiatus.

 

Now that the worst of the outbreak apparently over, Conte's side can focus on winning nine consecutive league matches for the first time since the dominant days of 2007, when they set a remarkable record of 17 straight wins in Serie A.

 

Having not suffered a top-flight loss since early January, the free-scoring Nerazzurri are six points clear of nearest rivals Milan and still have that game against Sassuolo in hand, so events in the next few days could therefore prove decisive in securing the title.

 

Bologna's extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down to defeat doomed Crotone in their final game before the international period capped a fine run of form, which saw the team coached by the ever-demanding Sinisa Mihajlovic pick up ten points from their six most recent matches.

 

In Calabria, the turnaround was completed in the 84th minute, as the home side's goalkeeper Alex Cordaz only managed to palm away former Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio's strike from the edge of the area, allowing Andreas Skov Olsen to gratefully net the rebound.

 

That represented a rare away day success for the Emilian outfit, as they have so far accumulated 21 of their 34 points on home soil. However, their visitors this week are almost equally adept on any territory across the peninsula.

 

Nowhere more so than in Bologna, as the hosts' last league win at Dall'Ara against Inter came as far back as February 2002. Since then, the Rossoblu have claimed a meagre three points from 14 subsequent home games against the Nerazzurri.

 

Since slotting into a central role in an attempt to address his side's lack of productivity in the final third, 22-year-old Musa Barrow - on six goals and six assists so far - has started to fulfil his potential, with Italy international Roberto Soriano (top scorer on nine) remaining influential just behind the young forward.

 

Their recent upturn will be put to one of the toughest tests in Calcio this weekend though, as they encounter a Conte-coached rearguard which has conceded just twice in their last five games.

 

Bologna Serie A form:

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Inter Milan Serie A form:

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Team News

Inter will have Samir Handanovic back in time for the trip to Bologna, as the Slovenia international, who has been out with COVID-19, will be available to face the Rossoblu having passed return-to-play protocols. The 36-year-old goalkeeper has been ever-present in Serie A this term, keeping 10 clean sheets to date.

 

Centre-back Stefan de Vrij has also been cleared to return, but versatile defender Danilo D'Ambrosio is expected to miss out as he has yet to register a negative test.

 

If De Vrij is not considered ready to start, then Andrea Ranocchia is more likely to cover in the back three than the declining Aleksandr Kolarov, though both may be required if rumours about a shoulder injury affecting Alessandro Bastoni's participation are confirmed.

 

Antonio Conte's only other concern is over Arturo Vidal, who is still suffering from a knee problem, so Roberto Gagliardini could be handed a start in central midfield.

 

Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Poland and will sit out Saturday's fixture, with veteran stopper Angelo Da Costa set to be called upon to shut out the league leaders.

 

Paolo Farago (thigh) and Aaron Hickey (shoulder) are unavailable for Sinisa Mihajlovic's side, while former Inter man Rodrigo Palacio is ruled out due to suspension, so in-form forward Musa Barrow will continue to lead the line.

 

Winger Andreas Skov Olsen impressed for Denmark during the past fortnight and will aim to build on his dramatic match-winner last time out, if offered another start.

 

Bologna possible starting lineup:

Da Costa; Tomiyasu, Danilo, Soumaoro, Dijks; Svanberg, Dominguez; Skov Olsen, Soriano, Sansone; Barrow

 

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:

Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Perisic; Martinez, Lukaku

 

We say: Bologna 1-2 Inter Milan

Inter's inexorable pursuit of the Scudetto is unlikely to be halted on Saturday - even by one of Serie A's in-form sides.

 

Having rode out the worst of a potentially debilitating COVID-19 crisis, the Nerazzurri can pick off Bologna by either lacerating them with extreme pace on the flanks or bulldozing through the centre via their potent front pairing.

 

 

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Nowgoal3.com are predicting an away win in this match.

 

Prediction: Bologna 1-2 Inter Milan

1x2 Picks: Inter Milan wins

Bologna VS Inter Milan, side with Inter