Preview: Bologna vs. Benevento

Both basking in the security of mid-table, Bologna meet Benevento on Friday night, with the pair looking to stay one step ahead of the chasing pack below them.

Despite failing form in recent weeks, both the Rossoblu and their visitors from Campania will come together at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara knowing that a win would lift them into 11th place in Serie A.

Breaking a barren run of just one win from their 11 previous matches last time out, Bologna beat their Emilian counterparts Parma 3-0, with the comfortable margin of victory coming by virtue of winger Riccardo Orsolini’s late strike and a rare Musa Barrow double.

Just his fourth and fifth goals of a testing season, the Gambian forward has been shifted up front to replace misfiring veteran Rodrigo Palacio of late and his first-half interventions proved vital in seeing off their near neighbours’ desperate challenge.

Last weekend’s was only their fourth clean sheet of the campaign and it is apparent that the main source of boss Sinisa Mihajlovic’s concern has been his defence, which has conceded 35 goals in the league.

New signing Adama Soumaoro, on loan from Lille, was drafted straight into the starting lineup last week and paired with veteran Danilo to successfully repel Parma’s powder-puff attack. The 28-year-old Frenchman is no stranger to Serie A, having featured on loan for Genoa from January to August 2020.

Making only five appearances for Lille this term, the versatile defender – who can play all along the back line – took up the opportunity of helping Mihajlovic right the ship in Emilia-Romagna and could play a significant role in their quest for further shut-outs.

His new side will now be confident of picking up back-to-back victories, with out-of-form Benevento coming to town and in the knowledge that they have secured a healthy 14 points from a possible 30 on home soil this season.
Though their points total still exceeds expectations at this stage of the campaign, Serie B champions Benevento have struggled since the turn of the year and are winless in five straight Serie A games.
Now bidding to snap out of their recent downward spiral, the Streghe drew 1-1 with Sampdoria last weekend and have certainly suffered as a result of conceding too many goals lately. In that five-match spell, Pippo Inzaghi’s side have let in 15 goals at an average of three per game.

Always with an eye on going forward, Benevento unsurprisingly hold the second-worst defensive record in Serie A, with 41 goals conceded in total – the 41st of which was Keita Balde’s late equaliser at Stadio Ciro Vigorito. Just reward for a Samp side that dominated possession it may have been, but it still came as a sickening blow for Inzaghi’s luckless outfit, who had forced visiting goalkeeper Emil Audero into a series of saves.

Nonetheless, they remain level on points with this week’s opponents and are currently sitting some eight points above the dreaded dotted line – with survival a genuine possibility, given the continuing misfortunes of the clubs beneath them.

When these two sides last met in Serie A action, Benevento emerged victorious at the Vigorito in October, as Gianluca Lapadula scored the lone goal in the 66th minute.

Both Lapadula and his fellow forward Gianluca Caprari were in a hot streak of form back then, but their goal supply has seriously dried up in recent weeks. To take anything from their trip to Dall’Ara, the Benevento attack could use some much-missed input from their two most experienced strikers at this level.

Bologna Serie A form: DLWLLW

Benevento Serie A form: WLLDLD

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