A huge game looms today for Joey Saputo’s Bologna. Win and they’ve all but secured Serie A football for next season. Draw or lose, and they’re still deeply entrenched in the mire.
The recent revival of Empoli, they’ve won a Tuscan derby over Fiorentina (1-0) and yesterday triumphed 2-1 at Sampdoria, a first victory in Genoa for 13 years, has kept things tense. Udinese winning too, at already relegated Frosinone, didn’t help Bologna’s cause either.
Cagliari and Fiorentina on 40 points should be safe, although not yet technically, but five other clubs are in the mix to avoid the last trap-door spot. Parma (38), Bologna (37), Udinese (37), Genoa (36), Empoli (35). There are two rounds of the championship left, but crucially three for Parma and Bologna, who meet in today’s Emilia-Romagna derby (1300 hrs EST, DAZN).
It’s bound to be the most tense meeting of the clubs, barely 100 km apart, in a long time.
Bologna’s home form recently has been stellar, something that could not have been forecast earlier in the season. In heralding their recovery they’ve won their last five on the bounce at Stadio Renata Dell’Ara.
They’re just off the back of an ill-tempered 1-2 reverse at Milan which saw Nicola Sansone and Dutchman, Mitchell Dijks sent off. Both players are suspended for Parma’s visit along with Andrea Poli.
The Ducali on the other hand, have put together a dismal run of eight without a win, the last five all ending in draws.
Bologna coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic has Roberto Soriano back after suspension and that should help the supply-line to Palacio and Orsolini up front.
Parma have more problems, missing suspended Juraj Kucka and Antonino Barillà, and the injury list is long: Roberto Inglese, Nicolas Schiappacasse, Riccardo Gagliolo, Jonathan Biabiany and Alberto Grassi.
Leo Stulac could get a rare start in midfield, but Kucka, a scorer in each of his previous two games leaves a gap.
Parma are not without character however, despite their recent dismal run, and coach Roberto D’Aversa was full of praise for the way they came back from two goals down in their last outing against Sampdoria.
Bologna has not won the derby at home since 2010, when a certain Marco Di Vaio proved the match-winner with both goals in a 2-1 success.
A repeat today, will do for the Rossoblu, but someone else will have to get the goals.
Rodrigo Palacio seems to enjoy playing against Parma more than any other opponent. The Argentine has scored 9 in 12 games against the Gialloblu. Now would be a great time to score his first Bologna goal at Stadio Renata Dell’Ara.
Bologna (probable): Skorupski; Mbaye, Danilo, Lyanco, Krejci; Pulgar, Dzemaili; Orsolini, Edera, Soriano; Palacio
Parma (probable): Sepe; Gazzola, Iacoponi, Bruno Alves, Bastoni, Dimarco; Rigoni, Scozzarella, Stulac; Siligardi, Gervinho