Our prediction for this Serie A match:
Stadio Carlo Castellani will host Saturday’s Serie A game between Empoli and Verona. The Azzurri aim to recover from the Coppa Italia loss to Cittadella, but they will have to do it without forward Daniel Maldini, who is struggling with a muscle injury. Summer signing Giuseppe Pezzella is pushing for a start after coming as a substitute in the Italian Cup defeat.
The Mastini, on the other hand, survived in the Serie A last season thanks to a thrilling 3-1 win over Spezia in the relegation playoffs. Verona are eager to secure yet another top flight survival and, no doubt, they would be happy with one point from the season opener. However, home win should be considered as both Marco Davide Faraoni and Isak Hien are banned for the visitors, while Thomas Henry and Darko Lazovic are out of contention with injuries.
Highlighted Player (Mattia Destro):
Mattia Destro started his youth career at Ascoli, but in 2005 he moved to Inter. The Italian attacker, though, made his debut in the Serie A with Genoa in the 2010/2011 season. He scored 2 goals in 16 appearances for the Rossoblu and at the end of the season he signed a deal with Siena. Destro netted 12 goals for Siena in 30 league appearances for the club and on 30 July, 2012 he joined fellow Serie A team Roma for a fee of €8.5 million.
The Italian footballer made his debut for the capital club on 2 September, 2012 in a 3-1 victory over Inter. Destro scored 24 goals for Roma between 2012 and 2015 and after ending his loan spell with Milan he joined Bologna on 20 August, 2015.
Speaking of his international career, the Bologna forward has 15 caps for Italy U21 and he made his debut for the senior team on 15 August, 2012 against England at Wembley Stadium. He made Italy’s 2014 provisional FIFA World Cup squad, but he eventually failed to make the final roster.
Highlighted Team (Verona):
Founded back in 1903, Hellas Verona are a professional football club that compete in the Italian Serie A. The “Mastini” are well known for their yellow and blue jerseys and they welcome their opponents at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. Hellas Verona share rivalry with Chievo Verona and the two local rivals face each other in the “Derby della Scala”.
The first derby of Verona was played on November 18, 2001, with Hellas Verona emerging triumphant (3-2). In 1985 the Mastini won their first and only Scudetto, with the team finishing the season in top position in the Serie A standings, four points clear of second-placed Torino. The likes of Preben Elkjaer, Giuseppe Calderisi, Hans-Peter Briegel, Pietro Fanna and Antonio Di Gennaro led Hellas Verona to the historical success.
However, the most famous footballer who played for Verona is Romania international Adrian Mutu, who scored 16 goals in 57 appearances in the league for the Stadio Marc’ Antonio Bentegodi outfit. Verona will compete in the Italian top flight in the 2017/2018 season as they finished the 2016/2017 Serie B campaign in second position in the table.