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Preview: Leeds United v Cagliari
Sunday, 31st Jul 2022 13:47 by Lucas Monk

Leeds United will host Cagliari this evening in their final pre-season friendly ahead of the new Premier League season.

Jesse Marsch’s charges have had a fairly mixed pre-season campaign. They comfortably defeated Championship Blackpool 4-0 before securing a narrow 2-1 victory over Brisbane Roar in the first match of the Australia tour. Thereafter, they did battle with divisional rivals Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. A truculent Villa side defeated them 1-0 in an ill-tempered clash most notable for John McGinn’s vicious tackle on Archie Gray, but United produced a better showing to claim a 1-1 draw against the Eagles with Rodrigo netting the opener from the penalty spot before Jordan Ayew equalised late in the game.

Having recently suffered relegation from Serie A, Cagliari are hoping to bounce back at the first time of asking under former Leyton Orient manager Fabio Liverani. The Rossoblù have a proud and storied history that includes the triumphant 1969-70 season, in which they won the national title owing largely to the exploits of the legendary striker Gigi Riva, who to this day is the all-time top scorer for the Italian national team having scored 35 goals in 42 appearances in official competitions. Recent times, particularly those years under the ownership of a certain Massimo Cellino, have been less kind to them with last season’s relegation being their second in seven years. The club does possess some talented international players such as Peru forward Gianluca Lapadula and Uruguay midfielder Nahitan Nández and with their help should be able to mount a decent challenge for promotion in the coming campaign.

Leeds kick off the new Premier League season next week with the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers. This friendly, therefore, represents their last opportunity to find some much-needed form and fitness before the return of competitive football to Elland Road.

Some observers have suggested that Marsch will look to give his preferred starting lineup around an hour of playing time today before turning to the fringe players and youngsters in the United squad for the remainder of the match. Leeds will be without the injured Luis Sinisterra but fans can expect to see plenty of their other new signings, such as Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen.

The game will now kick off at 6:45pm to allow people to watch England’s clash against Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final. Historically, Germany are the most successful side in the tournament with eight titles to their name, but England will be hopeful of a first win under the impressive Sarina Wiegman, who led her home nation of the Netherlands to success in the last edition of the competition.

Photo: Action Images



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