May 24, 2023
The preliminary round of the 2022/23 Serie B playoffs will see Venezia engaged in an away match against Claudio Ranieri's Cagliari, which finished the regular season in fifth place in the standings. The action will go down at the Unipol Domus on Saturday 27 May at 20:30 CEST.
Cagliari and Venezia will face each other for the first time in a Serie B post-season match. In the regular season they count 24 previous matches, with a perfectly balanced tally: eight wins on each side and eight draws.
In this regular season, Cagliari has never beaten Venezia (1D, 1L), with an aggregate scoreline against them of 4-1; it was since the 1997/98 season (2D) that the Sardinians had not won any match between the first leg and the second leg against the Lagunari in Serie B.
In the away match in Cagliari in the first leg of the championship, Venezia prevailed 4-1, with goals by Joel Pohjanpalo and Ridgeciano Haps and Denis Cheryshev's splendid one-two. In the return leg, the challenge at the Penzo ended in a scoreless draw.
Stats and trivia
Venezia has won only two of its 12 away matches against Cagliari in Serie B (3D, 7L), including the success that came this season; on that occasion, both teams had different head coaches - the Sardinians were led by Liverani and the Lagunari by Javorcic.
Considering the last six rounds of the regular season, Cagliari and Venezia have collected the same haul of points: 13, fewer only than Frosinone (14); in this period, moreover, the Lagunari had the best attack (17 goals), but the Sardinians had the best defense together with Südtirol (four goals conceded).
For the third time, Venezia will participate in the play-offs in Serie B: after being eliminated in the semifinals by Palermo in 2017/18, they gained promotion to Serie A in 2020/21, when they finished the regular season in 5th place - on that occasion, they passed the preliminary round by beating Chievo 3-2.
Prior to this season, Cagliari faced post-season engagements in Serie B on only two occasions: in 1953/54, losing the promotion playoff to Pro Patria, and in 1976/77, missing out on Serie A in the promotion triangular with Atalanta and Pescara.
Coaches and formations
Paolo Vanoli and Claudio Ranieri have only met in their coaching careers in the return leg, not being on the respective benches in the first leg. Having arrived in Cagliari as a replacement for Fabio Liverani, Claudio Ranieri has a long history with the Sardinian side: landing as coach of the Rossoblu in 1988, he signed a success in the Coppa Italia Serie C and a double promotion, from Serie C to Serie A.
Since his arrival in Sardinia, coach Ranieri has played 19 matches, losing only twice (nine wins and eight draws) for an average of 1.84 points per match. Similar numbers for Paolo Vanoli, whose points average stands at 1.54.
After testing the 5-3-2 against Perugia and Palermo, Claudio Ranieri went for the 4-3-1-2 in the last round. No changes for coach Vanoli, who has now tried and tested the 3-5-2.
This will be a challenge between the two players who have participated in the most goals in this Serie B: Joel Pohjanpalo (26, 19 goals and seven assists) and Gianluca Lapadula (25, 21 goals and four assists).
Gianluca Lapadula was the top scorer in the regular season with 21 goals scored, including as many as 11 since the beginning of March: in the timeframe, only Alexandre Lacazette (12) has done better than the Cagliari striker in the top-5 European leagues and respective second divisions.
Joel Pohjanpalo has been involved in at least one goal in each of his last six Serie B appearances, with as many as eight goals and one assist in this period; the Venezia striker has also scored in each of his last three away matches, his longest away scoring streak in the competition.