KICK off: 3 February 21:45
Information: An injury-scarred campaign continues for Napoli stalwart Dries Mertens, as the Belgian forward has returned to his homeland for treatment on an ankle injury. The 33-year-old limped off during the defeat at Inter Milan last month with a sprained left ankle and has struggled for fitness since. Midfielder Fabian Ruiz has been out of action with COVID-19, so must wait to return a negative test before rejoining his teammates. Otherwise, Gennaro Gattuso has a clean bill of health and is expected to name a strong XI – with tight calls to be made between Andrea Petagna and Victor Osimhen up front and in the ongoing saga of Alex Meret versus David Ospina in goal. For the visitors, Gian Piero Gasperini has a significant defensive headache to resolve, as Jose Luis Palomino is suspended following his dismissal in the quarter-final and Cristian Romero tested positive for COVID-19 late last week. Back-up Bosko Sutalo is also in doubt, so Mattia Caldara could complete the back three with regulars Rafael Toloi and Berat Djimsiti. Wing-back Hans Hateboer remains a concern though, so new signing Joakim Maehle could continue on the right, while key attacking threat Robin Gosens will be back after serving a suspension in Serie A. Possessor of a formidable goals-per-minute ratio, striker Luis Muriel was afforded a rare start in the previous round and may again swap places with compatriot Duvan Zapata at the Maradona.
Prediction: Over 2,5 goals
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