Serie B promotion play-off PREVIEW: Pisa v Monza (agg:1-2) | SECOND LEG

The 2021/22 edition of Serie B has reached its ultimatum, with Pisa locking horns with Monza on Sunday evening at Arena Garibaldi.

Goals from Dany Mota and Christian Gytkjær came to Monza’s rescue as they were able to hold onto a 2-1 lead in the first leg of an intriguing play-off final. Filippo Berra’s scorer at the other end means Pisa have a finger well into the pie, labelled as the Serie A 2022/23. Sunday’s fixture will pose a different challenge for the Biancorossi, with Pisa hosting them in their own backyard.

The Pisa Ultras have already echoed their ambition in a press release, hinting that the atmosphere would be hostile and unbearable for the visiting sides. Considering that a place in the next season’s Serie A remains at the stake, a frenzied reaction from the home fans is the first thing one expects.

In terms of recent form, Monza’s record looks far better than their counterpart, with the Nerazzurri losing two of their last five league fixtures. On the other hand, the visitors have won four of their last five fixtures in Serie B.

The recent form (in the last five matches in Serie B)

Pisa: D-W-L-W-L

Monza: W-L-W-W-W

Team News

Antonio Caracciolo, the club captain for Luca D’Angelo’s side, has been a long-term absentee and will miss the final game of the campaign due to an ACL injury. Going into the final day, Idrissa Touré is reported to have been carrying a slight knock and could undergo a late fitness test ahead of the weekend’s fixture.

Christian Gytkjær’s exclusion from the starting line-up indeed raised a few eyebrows, but he went on to score the most crucial goal for Monza after coming off the bench in the second half. The visiting side had a long list of absentees in the midweek. But everyone has recovered in time for the grand finale, and there is no suspension to bother Giovanni Stroppa’s resolution either.

Predicted XIs

Pisa (4-3-1-2): Nicolas; Birindelli, Leverbe, De Vitis, Beruatto; Mastinu, Nagy, Marin; Benali; Puscas, Torregrossa

Monza (3-5-2): Di Gregorio; Caldirola, Marrone, Pirola; Molina, Ciurria, Barberis, Mazzitelli, Augusto; Mota, Gytkjaer

Both teams went toe-to-toe in the first leg, but Monza bested Pisa on their home soil. But in the return leg, Pisa will now enjoy the backing of their avid followers. Would Stroppa’s men be resolute enough to stall that advantage? The world is waiting for the answer.

Jyotirmoy Halder

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