Inter Milan get back to action after a brief break when they welcome Serie B side Benevento to the Giuseppe Meazza for a Coppa Italia clash on Sunday.
Last season, Inter struggled with Serie C side Pordenone in their first Coppa clash before being defeated in the next round by AC Milan. Luciano Spalletti is likely hoping not to repeat last season’s performance.
Inter Milan news
It has been an interesting start to the transfer season for the Nerazzurri as much of the news has been dominated by the on-going contract negotiations with striker Mauro Icardi.
It is likely that Spalletti will slot in Lautaro Martinez to start up top for Inter. Martinez has three goals and an assist in his 12 Serie A appearances this season. His best match this season was picking up a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Frosinone back in November.
Inter has won three of their last five Serie A matches with their last loss coming at Juventus in the first Derby d’Italia. But, the Nerazzurri have struggled to find the back of the net in those five matches — scoring just five goals total.
While there are no injury concerns for Inter, it is completely possible that Spalletti decides to rest other players like Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic — only bringing them on if needed.
One question will be whether Samir Handanovic will start in goal over Daniele Padelli.
I would expect Joao Mario, Keita Balde and Matteo Politano to earn starts for Inter Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of this match will be playing without a crowd as Inter serve a two-match closed stadium ban following racial slurs and violence after their 1-0 win over Napoli.
Projected lineup: Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Miranda, De Vrij, Asamoah; D’Ambrosio, Mario, Vecino; Politano, Balde, Martinez.
Recently relegated Benevento has struggled back in Serie B — only in sixth place thus far. They have won eight of their first 18 matches while drawing five and losing five.
Despite that, they are only eight points back of first-place Palermo.
The expectation is that manager Cristian Bucchi will come out with his strongest possible lineup, including Massimo Coda — the team’s leading scorer. Additionally, Napoli loanee Roberto Insigne — brother of Lorenzo Insigne — could also earn a start.
Offensively, Benevento has allowed 21 goals in Serie B while scoring 27. In their last five matches, Benevento has won just two while losing two and earning a 0-0 draw with Cosenza.
Their path in the Coppa Italia started with a 3-0 win over Imolese followed by a 2-1 win at Udinese. They reached this point of the tournament on the heels of a 1-0 win at Cittadella.
Projected lineup: Montipo; Volta, Antei, Di Charia; Letizia, Tello, Del Pinto, Bandinelli, Improta; Insigne, Coda.
Time and Date: 5 p.m. (BST) [12 p.m. EST], Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019
Where: Giuseppe Meazza (Milan)
How to watch: In the United States, the match will be streamed on ESPN+. If you are watching in the United Kingdom, you can view the match on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Live. In Italy, the match will be carried on Rai Due and Rai Play.
Click here to see how you can watch the match anywhere in the world.
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