Monday, 6 November 2006

Serie B Classica: Napoli v Juventus

Two of Italian football’s giants square off in a mouth-watering Serie B match tonight for the first time in five years.

Napoli face Juventus at the Stadio San Paolo this evening in the most eagerly anticipated game of the season. The Bianconeri saw their Calciopoli punishment reduced to just nine points last week and are now just four points behind leaders Genoa.

Edy Reja’s Vesuviani face a daunting task as they prepare to face a side they haven’t beaten in the league since the Azzurri’s Scudetto winning campaign of 1989-90 – Diego Maradona scored twice in a 3-1 win – and may be low on confidence after last weekend’s shock defeat at the hands of Albinoleffe.

However, they may draw hope from their Coppa Italia third round victory over Juve in August in a clash that went all the way to penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw at the end of extra time. Although his side have won eight in a row since the opening day, Didier Deschamps maintains a draw would be a good result to take back to Turin. “It’s an important game, but not vital. That’s not to say we’ll be looking for a draw. We’re going there to win. Napoli are coming into the game on the back of a negative result, the stadium will be full, the atmosphere will be tense and they will want to win against Juve,” the French tactician stated.

Besides the quality of players on the pitch, Napoli can also count on the hostile atmosphere of the San Paolo, a dreaded destination for any away team, especially for the big teams who will face an almost sell-out crowd of 80,000 fans.

The match kicks-off at 8pm (UK time).

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