Cagliari vs. Torino, Preview: Mid-table sides meet in eerie Sardinian silence

Valerio Pennicino

As the Cagliari stadium controversy rumbles on, their game against Torino on Sunday will be played behind closed doors. Hopefully the game won't be as flat as the atmosphere.

Cagliari's affairs may be a complete mess off the pitch, but fortunately Ivo Pulga has got things looking a little better on it. After a terrible start to the season, the Sardinians are now in a relatively comfortable 14th place, having lost only once this year.

After a victory over Pescara in the last match they're seven points clear of the relegation zone, with a squad which is comfortably capable of surviving the drop. They take on Torino in this clash, who are equally safe in mid-table, three points above the isolani in 11th.

They saw off Atalanta 2-1 last time out, with Giampiero Ventura's side having adapted to life in Serie A excellently following their promotion last season. One of the tightest defences in Serie A, they have occasionally struggled for goals -- though, against a Cagliari outfit which has conceded 41 times already this season, that shouldn't really be a concern here.

That is despite the fact that they are without a few regular first team attackers, with striker Jonathas left at home with a muscle problem, Riccardo Meggiorini with flu and midfielder Mario Santana with bruising. Young midfielder Marko Bakić also hasn't been called by the coach with a similar problem, though he's yet to make a first team appearance this season, and won't really be missed.

They still have their key attackers available, including the in-form winger Alessio Cerci and big centre-forward Rolando Bianchi, who is Toro's top scorer with seven goals this season.

As for Cagliari, they only have an early injury doubt in Thiago Ribeiro, though he should still be available. Their main dangerman is Marco Sau, who netted twice in the rossoblu's 2-0 win against Pescara last weekend. He should spearhead a lively, mobile and talented attack with Victor Ibarbo in this match. Both sides have talented attacking options -- let's hope it shows.

Cagliari Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Jonathas, Riccardo Meggiorini, Mario Santana and Marko Bakić (injured)

Torino Injuries and Suspensions

In doubt: Thiago Ribeiro

Match Date/Time: Sunday 24th February 2013 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. E.T.

Venue: Stadio Is Arenas, Sardinia, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 4

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