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Serie A Week 19 - 18/1/09 (14.00 UK)
Cagliari - Udinese
Stadio Sant'Elia

After their heroic draw at Inter, Cagliari will be confident for the visit of a struggling Udinese outfit in a mid-table encounter at the Stadio Sant’Elia.

Cagliari’s renaissance under Massimiliano Allegri continued last weekend and the Sardinians were a whisker away from a remarkable giant killing at San Siro. The Rossoblu had to settle for a point against Inter, but they look a completely different side to the XI that were left propping up the table at the start of the season.

However, there’s no room for resting on their laurels. Cagliari are in 13th place, but they have gone three games without registering a win. While Allegri’s outfit are seven points clear of the relegation zone, they could easily slip back into the danger zone. The Isolani will believe they can wrestle three points from Udinese and are excellent on home soil with five wins there this season.

The mood at Udinese is much more sombre. The Friulani ended 2008 on terrible form and slumped 5-1 to Milan in their humiliating nightmare before Christmas. While a 1-1 draw with Sampdoria was a respectable opening to the New Year, the Bianconeri badly need to return to winning ways.

In spite of their recent malaise, Udinese are still in 12th place thanks to their magnificent opening to the season. If Pasquale Marino can rediscover his winning formula quickly, his side could rejoin the UEFA Cup qualification hunt, but games like this must be won if they are to play on the European stage next term.

Allegri has started 2009 with the luxury of a full-strength squad at his disposal. His opposite number Marino also has few selection headaches with Serbian left-back Aleksandar Lukovic the only absentee through suspension.

Keep an eye on: Robert Acquafresca (Cagliari) – The Azzurrini ace scored against the Inter side that own him last weekend and there’s continued speculation that he may join the Nerazzurri on a permanent basis.

Last season: Cagliari 0-1 Udinese

Form guide: Cagliari (W W L D D) Udinese (L L D L D)
Cagliari (probable): Marchetti; Pisano, Lopez, Bianco, Agostini; Fini, Conti, Biondini, Cossu; Acquafresca, Jeda

Udinese (probable): Handanovic; Ferronetti, Coda, Domizzi, Pasquale; Isla, D’Agostino, Inler; Pepe, Di Natale, Quagliarella

Ref: To follow…

channel4
 

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From channel4.com:
Udinese reassure Marino Sunday 18 January, 2009

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Udinese Coach Pasquale Marino “will not be fired,” assured President Giampaolo Pozzo this evening.

The tactician is thought to be hanging by a thread after picking up just two points from his last nine Serie A games.

The 2-0 defeat away to Cagliari this afternoon could well have been his last on the bench, amid rumours that former Italy manager Roberto Donadoni will take over.

“With all the respect I have for Donadoni, I must inform you that I have never contacted him, because there is no reason to,” insisted President Pozzo.

“We are satisfied with the work Marino is doing and he will not be fired.”

When Marino was asked about his position in the wake of that defeat to Cagliari, he remained confident.

“I have to trust in what the club tells me. The journalists do not have that prerogative. The club intends to carry on a long-term plan and not just look at what has happened over the last two months.”

The Friulani, who are still in this season's UEFA Cup, are now just eight points clear of the relegation zone in Serie A.
 

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Cagliari 2 - 0 Udinese
Conti 4 (C), Biondini 20 (C)
Stadio Sant'Elia

Cagliari compounded Udinese's crisis with a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Pasquale Marino was hanging by a thread after two points from the Friulani's last eight Serie A games. They travelled to the Sardinian fortress against a Cagliari side fresh from holding Inter to a 1-1 draw. Aleksandar Lukovic and Antonio Di Natale were injured for this trip and Fabio Quagliarella surprisingly benched, but Udinese had scored in their last 10 visits to the Sant'Elia on the trot since a Coppa Italia tie in August 1992.

Cagliari have made a habit of scoring early goals on home turf and opened their account after four minutes. A free kick outside the box was touched on for Daniele Conti's fierce rising angled drive that took a decisive deflection off Giovanni Pasquale's shoulder.

Udinese fought back, as Antonio Floro Flores knocked down for Mauricio Isla to blast over on the bounce.

However, the Sardinians doubled their lead with a smart finish from Davide Biondini, volleying in Andrea Cossu's chipped cross with the inside of his left foot.

Alexis Sanchez felt he deserved a penalty when he clashed with Marchetti, then the goalkeeper flew to parry a Floro Flores strike.

Quagliarella was introduced for West Ham target Chris Obodo in the second half.

On 70 minutes a Gaetano D'Agostino free kick whipped over the wall and thumped the base of the near post.

Marchetti smothered a Quagliarella attempt and Simone Pepe's stoppage-time strike, but Udinese found it very difficult to break down an organised Cagliari side.


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Cagliari: Marchetti; Pisano, Lopez, Bianco, Agostini; Fini (Parola 91), Conti, Biondini; Cossu (Lazzari 82); Jeda, Acquafresca (Matri 75)

Udinese: Handanovic; Zapata, Coda, Domizzi, Pasquale; Asamoah (Inler 64), D'Agostino, Isla, Obodo (Quagliarella 46); Sanchez (Pepe 70), Floro Flores

Ref: Peruzzo


Our next games are Palermo away, Juventus at home and Napoli away...8points from the drop zone and 2 points from the last 9 games..im seriously worried now:moan:
 
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