I know, I know … it’s only the preseason. But, consider the fact that this time next week we will be getting ready for the start of the Serie A season.
The Green and Whites are coming off a 2-1 win over AC Milan Wednesday night in Italy as midfielder Fabián scorched a shot into the top corner of the net past Donnarunna. After André Silva leveled the game on a penalty shot, but Sanabria scored on a penalty awarded by the VAR in the 89th minute to give Real Betis the win.
Real Betis finished in 15th just three places above the relegation zone last season in La Liga, eight points clear. In November the team sacked Argentinian manager Gustavo Poyet and brought on Víctor Sánchez — who was fired from Deportivo La Coruna in the preseason and was fired from Greek side Olympiacos after two games.
Sánchez’s tenure didn’t last the entire season as he was sacked by Real at the end of last season. Now, Quique Setién holds the reins for the Green and Whites.
Betis will be without winger Cristian Tello who remains in Seville nursing an ankle injury.
Inter, on the other hand, have not lost a preseason game this season. After a draw with Schalke 04, the Nerazzurri defeated Olympique Lyonnais, Bayern Munich and Chelsea to win the International Champions Cup 2017 Asia edition, then returned to Italy and knocked off Europa League participants Villarreal, 3-1 behind goals from Éder, Stevan Jovetic and Marcelo Brozovic. Inter has scored nine goals in five preseason games while giving up just three.
Saturday may mark the first appearance of newly-signed defender Dalbert, who inked his contract earlier this week. Fellow transfer signee Matias Vecino could also see more time on the pitch as manager Luciano Spalletti looks for one more game-setting evaluation of his squad.
What to expect
Just like with any other preseason friendly, there will be a lot of substitutions as Spalletti looks at the cards he’s been dealt.
Inter’s defense has yet to really be tested during the preseason, but Milan Skriniar has impressed. Inserting Dalbert into the scheme could show what can expect once the season starts next week. Reports are that Spalletti is furious with Geoffrey Kondogbia after the defender failed to show up for practice Friday. He has been left off the roster for Saturday.
There are still a few questions at midfield, but Borja Valero and Joao Mario have been solid. Tossing Vecino in the mix is just an added benefit.
Gary Medel and Jeison Murillo have been left off the squad as Medel signed with Besiktas and Murillo will head to Spain and Valencia.
All-in-all, I think Spalletti will shore up some lineup questions. Expect to see more Mauro Icardi as he is expected to make his first appearance real of the preseason. He played late in the 3-1 win over Villarreal last week and has been very limited all preseason due to an injury.
Here is who will be available to Spalletti against Real Betis:
Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Padelli, Berni
Defenders: Ranocchia, Ansaldi, Miranda, Dalbert, D'Ambrosio, Skriniar
Midfielders: Gagliardini, Vecino, Joao Mario, Borja Valero, Rivas, Brozovic
Forwards: Jovetic, Icardi, Eder, Perisic, Candreva, Barbosa
Real Betis squad
Here are the players available for Real Betis:
Goalkeepers: Adam, Dani Giménez
Defenders: Pedro, Barragán, Rafa Navarro, Mandi, Amat, Pezzella, Feddal, Redru, Tosca, Durmisi
Midfielders: Brasanac, Guardado, Fabián, César de la Hoz, Julio, Narváez, Camarasa, Francis
Forwards: Nahuel, Joaquin, Loren, Sergio León and Sanabria
Location: Stadio Via Del Mare (Lecce)
Time: 8:30 p.m. CEST (2:30 p.m. on the U.S. East Coast)
TV/Streaming: The game will be shown exclusively by Sky Sports in Italy. Abroad, you can plug in and watch the game on ESPN3, WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes. Click here for details.
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