Preview: Serie A weekend fixtures

NAPLES, ITALY - DECEMBER 05: Cristiana Girelli of Juventus celebrates after scoring the 1-2 goal during the Women Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Juventus at on December 05, 2020 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

As the second half of the Italian season kicks off, let’s take a look at what’s coming up this weekend.

Napoli vs Pink Bari : Saturday 11:30am GMT

The bottom two sides meet in a game that may give the winner some hope of survival. When the sides met on the first day of the season, Bari came out on top thanks to a Noemi Manno penalty.

A win for the home side would see them leapfrog Bari and off the foot of the table. A win for Bari could see them edge closer to San Marino in the safety zone. A draw would really not do either of these sides any favours.

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Napoli brought in a new manager in December, Alessandro Pistolesi, and his first game in charge saw his side go very close to gaining a point at Roma, losing out 3-2 in the end. Bari last time out, took the lead twice in their game at San Marino, but went down 4-2.

Roma vs Sassuolo : Saturday 11:30am

Back on the opening day of the season the teams played out a 1-1 draw. Since then it’s been Sassuolo who have impressed the most, rising to third in the table.

There are plenty of goals in the away side, Kamila Dubcová has eight goals in the league, Valeria Pirone has seven to her name and the youngster Hayley Bugeja is on six.

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Last Saturday they registered a 3-0 home win against Empoli, while Roma had a 3-2 win over Napoli. That included Brazilian forward Andressa Alves’ first goal since August. In the same game Annamaria Senturini bagged her seventh of the season.

We can expect to see Roma’s new signing Elena Linari make an appearance. The former Fiorentina defender has just returned to Italy after her experiences at Atletico Madrid and most recently Bordeaux.

San Marino vs Empoli : Saturday 13:30pm

Serie A newcomers San Marino had a harsh welcome when they travelled to take on Empoli back in August. The away side conceded five in each half, ending up on the end of a 10-0 hiding.

They have since managed to steady the ship, especially at the back and the visitors won’t have such an easy task this time around. San Marino will be missing a number of players due to positive Covid-19 tests.

They were without nine players for last weeks trip to Fiorentina. They lost out 3-1 that day but the game had been level up to the 86th minute.

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The home side are still in need of points to pull away from the relegation zone while Empoli will be happy with their fourth place at the half way stage.

Empoli’s goal threat will come from Elisa Polli and Cecilia Prugna while Giulia Baldini impressed for San Marino at Fiorentina last time out and they also have the dangerous Raffaella Barbieri.

READ: Serie A: The 2020/21 Story So Far

Inter Milan vs Fiorentina : Sunday 11:30am

The home side will be out for revenge after going down 4-0 in Florence at the start of the season. Tatiana Bonetti who scored the final goal in that game will be a big loss to Fiorentina having just moved to Atletico Madrid.

This will probably give Scottish forward Lana Clelland more game time, an issue behind recent stories that she will look for another club at the end of the season.

The Viola have had to do without their manager Antonio Cincotta recently along with three players, who were all unavailable due to Covid-19.

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Inter have certainly improved since that opening day loss, despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at home to Juventus last week.

A win would see them level on points with Fiorentina and after missing the beginning of the season through injury, former Fiorentina forward Ilaria Mauro will face her former club for the first time since leaving at the end of last season.

Florentia San Gimignano vs AC Milan : Sunday 13:30pm

Not an easy trip for a Milan side who really need to keep winning to maintain the pressure on Juventus. Florentia are on a decent run recently, undefeated in their last three league games.

Their last defeat was back in November when the league leaders came to town. Florentia were ahead at the break but Juventus managed to scrape a 2-1 win.

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The visitors will likely stick with the front pairing of Natasha Dowie and Valentina Giacinti who have 14 league goals between them to date. They’ll be put to the test by the third best defense in Serie A.

Florentia don’t score too many though, Sofia Cantore has scored four of their 10 league goals.

Juventus vs Hellas Verona : Sunday 13:30pm

Can Hellas with seven defeats so far and the second lowest scorers in the league put a stop to Juve’s march to the title? Probably unlikely, although Milan struggled to a 1-0 win in Verona last week.

The away side have had two wins on their travels this season, at Fiorentina and Napoli.

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If they are to score, it will probably be through Asia Bragonzi who has scored five of their seven goals to date. The 19-year-old is actually on loan from Juve this season and has certainly shown her potential.

Verona’s defense and keeper Francesca Durante, on loan from Fiorentina, will do well to keep out the league’s top scorer Cristiana Girelli.

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