Cagliari vs. Udinese, Preview: Zebrette cling to European hopes

Dino Panato

Udinese have won three games on the bounce, and have suddenly moved themselves up into European contention. Cagliari will try to stop the Zebrette here.

Udinese have made a habit of appearing out of nowhere in a late season European charge, and this year is proving to be no different. After a slow start, Francesco Guidolin has whipped his zebrette into shape (hopefully without any animal cruelty), and they're now only a couple of points behind Inter Milan and the Europa League.

Striker Luis Muriel has hit peak form, as has his attacking partner Antonio Di Natale. The evergreen attacker has now scored 18 times in 28 games this season, and netted the winner in last weekend's victory over Lazio. The team charged with stopping them this weekend, is Cagliari.

With their stadium woes this season, the Sardinians have given an excellent demonstration of how not to run a football club off the field. However, Ivo Pulga has impressed coaching his side on it (whether said field is in Cagliari, Trieste or anywhere else, for that matter). Last weekend's defeat to Napoli was only their third of the calendar year, and the rossoblu have now crept up into the top half of the table.

Cagliari will be without Francesco Pisano, Sebastian Eriksson and Andrea Cossu through injury, while Daniele Dessena and Albin Ekdal are suspended. Fortunately Víctor Ibarbo and Marco Sau, two talented young attackers who've been on incredible form of late, are available.

For Udinese, Antonio Di Natale, Mathias Ranégie and Alexander Merkel are all slight doubts, though should be fit for the game.

Cagliari Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Francesco Pisano, Sebastian Eriksson, Andrea Cossu (injured); Daniele Dessena, Albin Ekdal (suspended) In doubt: None

Udinese Injuries and Suspensions

Out: None In doubt: Antonio Di Natale Mathias Ranégie, Alexander Merkel

Match Date/Time: Saturday 27th April 2013 6 p.m. local, 12 p.m. E.T.

Venue: Stadio Is Arenas, Sardinia, Italy

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

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