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By Adam Digby & Chloe Beresford
The Coppa Italia continues Saturday with the first round of 16 matches. These games will be live on FloFC for Canadian viewers. Keep watching through Monday to see which teams advance to the quarterfinals.
Lazio vs. Novara (Saturday, Jan. 12, 9 a.m. ET)
Novara have scored at least two goals in their last three Coppa Italia matches.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Lazio's last three Coppa Italia games.
Sitting mid-table in Italy’s third tier, Novara face a daunting visit to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday when they take on Lazio. The hosts have lost to Juventus in the final of this competition twice in the last four seasons and arrives at this fixture having lost just one of their last nine Serie A fixtures.
Sampdoria vs. AC Milan (Saturday, Jan. 12, 12 p.m. ET)
Milan have failed to score in their last four Coppa Italia matches.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in seven of Sampdoria’s last eight cup games.
Arguably the most intriguing clash of this round, the Coppa Italia should provide some respite for a Milan side that has struggled in the league this term. Currently sitting fifth in the table, Milan are just two points above a Sampdoria side, which was leading 2-1 at San Siro back in October but eventually lost 3-2 to the Rossoneri.
Bologna vs. Juventus (Saturday, Jan. 12, 2:45 p.m. ET)
Juventus have won the Coppa Italia in each of the last four seasons.
Juventus have also kept a clean sheet in their last six Coppa Italia matches.
Bologna have scored at least two goals in five of their last six matches (Coppa Italia).
Facing Cristiano Ronaldo and co. will be a tough task for Bologna, which arrived in the new year stuck in the Serie A relegation zone. Welcoming the Bianconeri to the Stadio Dall’Ara, Pippo Inzaghi would love to get one over on his former boss Max Allegri, but with Juve undefeated in domestic competition this term, it is highly likely that the Old Lady will make smooth progress into the next round.
Torino vs. Fiorentina (Sunday, Jan. 13, 9 a.m. ET)
Torino have won five of their last six Coppa Italia matches.
Fiorentina have only lost one of their last six meetings with Torino.
Fiorentina will be hoping to make progress in the Coppa Italia versus friendly rivals Torino, and the away side may well hand a debut appearance to new striker Luis Muriel. The Colombian has scored once and assisted once in four previous encounters with Sunday’s opponent and will be hoping to mark his return to Italy with a maiden goal for La Viola. One thing you can certainly expect is for Walter Mazzarri’s side to be well-organized defensively, a factor that may exacerbate Fiorentina’s recent scoring problems.
Inter vs. Benevento (Sunday, Jan. 13, 12 p.m. ET)
Benevento arrive in Milan on a four-game win streak.
Inter will have their eye on a quarterfinal meeting with Lazio.
These two teams have only met twice in the past, both encounters coming last term as Benevento enjoyed the only top-flight campaign in the club’s history. Succumbing to 2-0 and 2-1 defeats, it is hard to imagine the second-tier side managing to get a positive result here, although Inter did record a win at San Siro last April with an unforgettable 1-0 victory over AC Milan.
Napoli vs. Sassuolo (Sunday, Jan. 13, 2:45 p.m. ET)
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Sassuolo's last four Coppa Italia games.
Napoli has never lost a single game at home against Sassuolo.
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti already has experience of winning the Coppa Italia with his great AC Milan side of 2002-03, and the Rossoneri also won Champions League that season for good measure. The veteran manager has demonstrated his prowess in cup competitions time and time again, and now could be the time for the Partenopei to break Juve’s recent dominance. That will start with a must-win fixture versus Sassuolo, one that should prove to be fairly straightforward if Ancelotti’s men are in top form.
Cagliari vs. Atalanta (Monday, Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m. ET)
Atalanta have not won away at Cagliari since September 2014.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in six of Cagliari's last seven Coppa Italia games.
This may not be one of the most glamorous ties of the round, but it should certainly prove more interesting than the fixture itself suggests. Atalanta have made a name for themselves for aggressive attacking play under boss Gian Piero Gasperini, while the Sicilians have a penchant for wildly indifferent form. This could be a game with plenty of goals and is certainly one to watch out for.
AS Roma vs. Virtus Entella (Monday, Jan. 14, 3 p.m. ET)
Virtus Entella have scored at least two goals in their last three Coppa Italia matches.
Roma have conceded at least two goals in their last three cup matches.
This is the David versus Goliath fixture of the round, the kind of tie that can always prove to be a “banana skin” fixture for the bigger team. Here, Roma will host Virtus Entella, a team currently sixth in third-tier Lega Pro which already beat top-flight Genoa on penalties in the last round. Can the Giallorossi avoid potential embarrassment here?
Adam Digby is an Italian football writer for FourFourTwo, The Independent, and elsewhere. Author of "Juventus: A History In Black & White." Follow Adam on Twitter.