Siena vs. Cagliari, Preview: Can the great Tuscan escape continue?

Gabriele Maltinti

Siena's win against Palermo last weekend has given them a fighting chance of surviving relegation, though they are still in the bottom three ahead of this clash with Cagliari.

The Sardinians themselves were in a sticky relegation situation earlier in the season, though they've recovered and enjoy a ten point buffer over the bottom three. Winning three of their last four, they are pretty safe in mid-table, though they must still be having nightmares of their last visit to the Artemio Franchi.

That day last March Siena netted thrice without reply, as the rossoblu succumbed to an embarrassing defeat. Should a similar result occur a year on, the Tuscans may well be out of the relegation zone for the first time all season -- thanks to the hefty six point deduction they were handed.

Siena are a plucky bunch with a few talented players, though their recent form is in no small part down to one man. The not-so Innocent Emeghara has bludgeoned his way to five goals in his opening seven Serie A games after joining on loan from French club Lorient in January.

Cagliari's attack is also the strongest part of their squad, with Víctor Ibarbo and Marco Sau two of the hottest young striking prospects in the division, making up for the disappointment that has marred Mauricio 'three goals' Pinilla's season so far. Sau has scored eleven times in all, while the creative Ibarbo has scored four goals - including a hat-trick in Cagliari's 3-1 win over Sampdoria last time out.

It is telling that, in each of these sides' last five games, less than half have seen fewer than three goals scored. As a reward for waking up early on Sunday morning, you should see a high-scoring contest.

Siena Injuries and Suspensions

Nicola Pozzi, Simone Vergassola (injured)

Pozzi's a solid enough striker though wouldn't necessarily get in the team anyway with Emeghara's form, while 37-year-old club captain Vergassola's leadership is the only thing Siena will really miss.

Cagliari Injuries and Suspensions

Daniele Conti, Marco Sau (injured); Luca Rossettini (suspended)

Top scorer Sau's the only real problem here.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, March 17 at 12:30 p.m. local, 7:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Siena, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), RAI Internazionale (U.S.)

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