Cagliari vs Inter: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Unipol Domus forms the backdrop for Monday’s lopsided Serie A contest between newly-promoted Cagliari and title-bidding Inter. Let’s take a look at our match preview for this handsomely-looking encounter. 

Claudio Ranieri guided Cagliari back to Serie A last season. But he now faces a daunting task of keeping them at the elite table. The veteran tactician passed the first with flying colors. His defense looked rock-solid at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on the opening weekend as the Sardinians held Torino to a scoreless draw. 

Summer additions Jakub Jankto and Eldor Shomurodov made their debuts on Monday. But while Ranieri’s defensive set-up excelled in Turin, his attack didn’t produce much. The absence of Gianluca Lapadula took its toll as the Islanders managed just two shots on target in another winless top-flight opener. 

Unlike their hosts, Inter went from strength to strength on day one. Lautaro Martinez’s match-winning double fired Simone Inzaghi’s side to a comfortable 2-0 home triumph over MonzaNerazzurri silenced their critics with a mature display in their first Serie A game without Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko.

Marcus Thuram introduced himself to the Giuseppe Meazza crowd but couldn’t do much worth mentioning. However, Marko Arnautovic outperformed all expectations. Shortly after taking the Frenchman’s place on the field, the Austrian forward delivered a delightful assist to Martinez to seal a crucial win for Inter.

Inter had ups and downs away from home last season. If they’re to mount a genuine Scudetto challenge this term, they cannot afford to drop points in these so-called ‘small’ games. But there’s no doubt that Cagliari will give Inzaghi’s side a run for their money.

Match Preview


Cagliari’s draw in Turin marked their eighth consecutive failed attempt to win an opening top-flight fixture. All things considered, it wasn’t a waste, considering every point could prove crucial in what promises to be a season-long fight against relegation. However, the home side’s traditionally slow Serie A starts are ominous.

It was in 2011/12 when Cagliari last went unbeaten in their first two top-flight matches. Interestingly, they opened that campaign with a goalless draw before hammering Roma 5-1 in the follow-up. A repeat of that scenario looks highly improbable, with Ranieri’s team needing more than just omens to fend off Inter.

They have massively struggled against Nerazzurri in the past decade, suffering a staggering nine defeats in their last 11 league encounters (W1, D1). If it’s any consolation, that lone success came at Unipol Domus in 2019 as Leonardo Pavoletti’s strike toward the end of the first half completed Cagliari’s turnaround. 

Player to Watch: Boris Radunovic

With Cagliari expected to defend their goal for most of the game, all eyes will be on Radunovic. The Serbian goalkeeper could become the first Sardinians stopper to keep Inter at bay since Michael Agazzi in April 2013. 


A piece of history potentially awaits Inter in Sardinia. After overcoming Monza last time out, Inzaghi’s men could open a new Serie A season with back-to-back victories for the fifth year in a row. Despite their long tradition in Italy’s top flight, Nerazzurri have never achieved that feat before. 

Unipol Domus could be the perfect venue to accommodate Inzaghi’s bid to write his name down in the history books. Except for the abovementioned loss in 2019, Inter have won six of their last seven league visits to Cagliari. That run includes three consecutive triumphs in the build-up to this fixture, giving Nerazzurri a chance to make it four on the trot for the first time in this long-standing rivalry.

Inzaghi knows what it takes to beat Cagliari. He has won his last eight managerial meetings with the Sardinian outfit, underpinning Inter’s status as odds-on pre-match favorites.

Player to Watch: Lautaro Martinez

Martinez’s electrifying start to the season shows he doesn’t need Lukaku to shine. After scoring two goals apiece in his last two league appearances against Cagliari, he oughts to put Radunovic to the test.

Team News

In addition to Lapadula, who’s still out with an ankle injury, Cagliari will be without Marko Rog and Marco Mancosu for this clash. Jacopo Desgous faces a race against time to make himself available for selection.

On the other hand, Inter boss Inzaghi will have all the players that eased past Monza at his disposal. Francesco Acerbi is the only doubt, but Stefan de Vrij impressed in his absence. 

Cagliari vs Inter Potential Lineups

Cagliari (3-5-2): Radunovic; Obert, Dossena, Goldaniga; Zappa, Sulemana, Makoumbou, Nandez, Augello; Orisitanio, Pavoletti. 

Inter (3-5-2): Sommer; Darmian, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez.

Cagliari vs Inter Prediction

Though this won’t be a walk in the park for Inter by any stretch of the imagination, we expect Inzaghi’s side to wrap up all three points.

Prediction: Inter Win

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