Chievo hosts Spezia in the first leg of Italian Serie B playoffs semifinals. The match will be played on Saturday, July 8th at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi (Verona)
Strange regulations of Serie B played into the hands of Chievo in the last match, and the Verona team managed to reach the semifinals. The meeting with Empoli ended in a goalless draw, the teams exchanged goals scored in the extra halves, and the result was 1:1. It would seem that there should be a penalty shootout, but no. Chievo advanced further because it defended a draw and was higher in the standings at the end of the championship.
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Spezia starts its way in the playoffs from the semifinal stage, and we can judge the team from its last matches in the championship. Spezia played its last game on July 31 and defeated Salernitana on the road (2:1). In general, the team took the third position in the standings and lagged seven points behind the direct ticket to Serie A. Spezia showed itself excellently in attacking actions, and it had the third attack among all 20 teams.
At the semifinal stage, the teams will have to hold two meetings - one at home and the other away. The factor of the home arena plays an increased role in such matches, and the Veronese will surely try to play as carefully as possible at home, so as not to concede a lot. In the championship, Spezia defeated Chievo on its pitch with a 3:1 score, and this is a wake-up call for the Verona team before the current game. Still, Chievo's game shape at this stage looks much better than it was about a month and a half ago. After a protracted game with Empoli, there will be plenty of time to rest, and Spezia’s players may not immediately play in because they were on a small idle time. This could be fraught with a quickly conceded goal, which may predetermine the further outcome. I think the hosts have more chances of gaining victory.
Prediction for the match: Chievo to win with 0.0 handicap