Preview: Lecce vs. Parma – prediction, team news, lineups
Lecce have one last chance to stave off relegation from Serie A when they play host to Parma on Sunday in the final round of fixtures for the 2019-20 campaign.
In contrast, Parma sit 11th in the table and realistically have little to play for heading into the weekend clash with Lecce.
Lecce just about managed to keep their survival prospects alive with a 2-1 victory over Udinese in midweek, as Giancula Lapadula‘s tap-in nine minutes from time proved decisive at the Stadio Friuli.
As things stand, Lecce sit just one point behind 17th-placed Genoa before the final weekend of the season, and the two sides will be equally desperate to avoid relegation to Serie B alongside Brescia and SPAL.
Genoa will play host to mid-table side Hellas Verona at the same time on Sunday and can guarantee their survival with a win. However, any other result opens the door for Lecce to take advantage and secure a second consecutive season of top flight football.
Genoa boast the better goal difference of -29 compared to Lecce’s -32, so Fabio Liverani‘s men will either have to beat Parma and hope that Genoa fail to win, or Lecce can stay up with a draw if Genoa lose by a four-goal margin against Verona.
The onus is now on Lecce’s attackers to deliver on the final day of the season, and the Salentini faithful have every right to feel optimistic knowing that their side have only failed to score in two out of 10 matches since the restart.
Meanwhile, Parma were unable to stretch their winning run to three games as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to high-flying Atalanta on Tuesday evening.
I Crociati did not make life easy for the free-scoring Atalanta and went into the half-time interval 1-0 up thanks to Dejan Kulusevski‘s strike, but second-half goals from Ruslan Malinovskiy and Alejandro Gomez eventually saw Atalanta walk away with all three points despite Parma’s valiant efforts.
Roberto D’Aversa had witnessed his side enjoy back-to-back victories over Napoli and Brescia before the visit of Atalanta, but the best that Parma can hope for now is a 10th-placed finish, which does not appear to be all that likely given that Fiorentina – who currently occupy the spot – face bottom-of-the-table SPAL this weekend.
However, Parma will no doubt view this season as a success given their financial troubles of the past few years, and D’Aversa should certainly be eyeing a top-half finish for the 2020-21 campaign.
Lecce Serie A form: DLLWLW
Parma Serie A form: DLLWWL
Lecce will have to make do without Nehuen Paz for this crucial game after the defender picked up his fifth booking of the season last time out.
Marco Mancosu‘s penalty levelled the scores for Lecce against Udinese in midweek, but the 31-year-old suffered a back injury later on in the game and had to be forced off.
Mancosu’s injury is not thought to be serious and he is expected to feature on Sunday, but Lapadula and Marco Calderoni are touch-and-go after the duo suffered knocks in the win over Udinese.
As for Parma, Kulusevski is set to don the Crociati jersey for the final time before he joins up with his future teammates at Juventus.
However, Juraj Kucka was shown his fifth yellow card of the season last time out and will miss the final day, meaning Gaston Brugman is likely to fill the void in midfield as he returns from a suspension of his own.
Top scorer Andreas Cornelius is facing a race to be fit for the trip to Lecce, as is fellow striker Roberto Inglese, who could lead the line should Cornelius miss out again.
Lecce possible starting lineup:
Gabriel; Donati, Lucioni, Dell’Orco, Calderoni; Mancosu, Petriccione, Barak; Falco, Shakov; Lapadula
Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Darmian, Iacoponi, Dermaku, Gagliolo; Kurtic, Brugman, Barilla; Kulusevski, Inglese, Gervinho