Cagliari vs Atalanta Preview

A change of heart means Cagliari defender Davide Astori will play in Sardinia once again - but the Rossoblu are still waiting for permission to return from exile.


Trieste's Stadio Nereo Rocco - which sits near the Slovenian border, over 1,000 kilometres north east of Sardinia - will host Cagliari's home game with Atalanta on Sunday.

President Massimo Cellino has, however, been told he can once again use the Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari's home for 42 years before last season's failed Stadio Is Arenas experiment, pending league approval.

Cellino was given a double boost this week, then, as in-demand defender Astori pulled out of an agreed move to Napoli.

Explaining what had happened with the reported Liverpool and Southampton target, he said: "I didn't want to give Astori to Napoli. I really like (president Aurelio) De Laurentiis, he's a friend and we had an agreement.

"The player wanted to stay with Cagliari even though he was going to be sacrificed for the good of the club - in economic terms.

"But Napoli didn't get in touch with the player for quite a few days and so Davide asked me if there was any chance he could stay a Cagliari player. I confirmed to him that he wouldn't be sold."

Andrea Cossu and Francesco Pisano are unavailable to face the Nerazzurri due to injury but coach Ivo Pulga is likely to select a familiar starting XI to carry over some momentum from last season's late rally to an 11th-placed finish.

Atalanta are usually known for their low profile and subtle dealings in the transfer market but there was no keeping the Bergamo club out of the papers in the summer following a bizarre pre-season incident.

Giulio Migliaccio somehow found himself riding a tank alongside fans at a summer party, and the midfielder will answer to an Italian Football Federation disciplinary commission after the war machine crushed cars painted in the colours of rival clubs Roma and Brescia.

When the Alpine club were not making the headlines for the wrong reasons, Stefano Colantuono has made the signing of midfielder Luca Cigarini permanent while adding veteran centre-back Mario Yepes and former Palermo midfielder Luigi Giorgi to his ranks.

The latter is suspended against Cagliari while Daniele Capelli, Franco Brienza and Riccardo Cazzola are injured.


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