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Cagliari vs Inter Milan: Match Preview

The Nerazzurri take the show on the road for some Monday night calcio in Sardinia 

Cagliari Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Luigi Canu/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Inter’s season opener went as smoothly as possible with a 2-0 win over Monza, and it now looks to open its road victory count against Claudio Ranieri’s newly promoted Cagliari in the final fixture of Matchday 2.

Torino FC v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A TIM Photo by sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The Rossoblu are back in the top flight after a season in Serie B. Though 2022/23 was far from a perfect campaign for Cagliari, it was enough to ensure a quick promotion through the playoff-system. Cagliari finished fifth in the regular season and almost fell into midtable obscurity before Fabio Liverani was sacked and Ranieri arrived on the scene, but its story had a happy ending thanks to Leonardo Pavoletti’s 94th minute winner against Bari in the promotion playoff final. With safety specialist Ranieri still in charge, Cagliari looks far better suited to avoid the drop this time around, but it’s going to have to fight for it. A pair of young defensive midfielders - Matteo Prati and Ibrahim Sulemana - were its only big money summer sigings, which leaves the majority of the workload to the squad that earned Cagliari its promotion. That team includes perennial Inter transfer target Nahitan Nandez, who somehow remains in Sardinia and is a key starter in midfield, while the attack will rely on the aging duo of Gianluca Lapadula and Pavoletti. And as always with a Ranieri-side, Cagliari will be a pain to play against. That was evident in its season opener, a 0-0 draw at Torino. While such a result isn’t much to get excited about, it’s a good sign that Cagliari is worthy of its top-flight status especially considering the fact that 5 members of its starting eleven had never started a Serie A match before and only 3 had more than 10 games under their belt in the top flight.

FC Internazionale v AC Monza - Serie A TIM Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Inter, meanwhile, got the new campaign started with a solid if unspectacular 2-0 win over Monza. The Nerazzurri never reached first gear, nor did it need to against an offensively toothless Monza. Instead, Lautaro Martinez took a starring role with a brace and more of that will be expected to come. The Argentine is the only constant in Inter’s strike force and while Marcus Thuram and Marko Arnautovic showed positive signs last week (the latter especially), this is Lautaro’s team. Cagliari is another game that should be a win for Simone Inzaghi’s side, though, so perhaps we’ll see more of a role for Inter’s new signings such as Davide Frattesi and Marko Arnautovic.

Previous Results

Inter leads the all-time series with a 49W-31D-16L record, including wins in both meetings when these teams last saw each other back in 21/22.

Predicted Starting XIs

Cagliari’s Predicted XI (3-4-3)
Inter’s Predicted XI (3-5-2)

Prediction: Cagliari 0-1 Inter Milan

Cagliari won’t make it easy for Inter, but the good guys will escape Sardinia with all three points thanks to another Lautaro game winner.

Forza Inter!