Daggers out as Juve-Napoli faceoff

SaturdayJuventus     vs    Napoli    18:00Lazio     vs     Milan    20:45SundayCagliari     vs     Bologna    12:30Inter     vs     Catania    15:00
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been nursing a thigh injury. Net photo.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been nursing a thigh injury. Net photo.

Saturday
Juventus     vs    Napoli    18:00
Lazio     vs     Milan    20:45

Sunday
Cagliari     vs     Bologna    12:30
Inter     vs     Catania    15:00
Chievo     vs     Fiorentina
Udinese     vs     US Pescara
Parma     vs     Sampdoria
Atalanta     vs     Siena
Palermo     vs     Torino
Genoa     vs     AS Roma    20:45   

ROME - Serie A returns with a bang on Saturday as leading pair Juventus and Napoli, defending champions and Cup holders respectively, clash, with the latter still smarting from their stormy Supercup defeat.

Both teams are unbeaten with 19 points from a possible 21 and have the best scoring records in the league.

Napoli were the only team to beat Juventus last season when they won the Italian Cup final 2-0, while Juventus completed the 38-match league campaign with an unbeaten record.

Last week’s World Cup qualifiers, which led to a two-week break in the championship, have taken their toll on both teams with Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon nursing a thigh injury and midfielder Claudio Marchisio an injured shoulder.

Napoli striker Edinson Cavani is likely to be feeling the effects of his long journey to play for Uruguay against Bolivia on Tuesday in La Paz, which is 3 600 metres above sea level.

Buffon suffered his injury last Friday in the 3-1 win in Armenia, then missed Wednesday’s win over Denmark when, by a twist of fate, he was replaced by Napoli’s Morgan De Sanctis.

That led to one of Italy’s famous conspiracy theories with Buffon having to defend himself against allegations that he was saving himself for the Napoli game.

“Ours is a nation of conspiracy,” said Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta. “Everything needs to be taken back to sport.  “There is nothing to say about Buffon. He is the captain of Juventus and of Italy and the allegations are unfounded.

Tension could still be simmering from the season-opening Supercup match in Beijing in August, which Juventus won 4-2 after extra time in controversial circumstances.

 

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