Juve face leaders Napoli aiming for nine wins in a row

They won on Saturday when Danilo scored the lone goal against Udinese and have not conceded in their eight straight victories

Published : 12 Jan 2023, 04:15 PM
Updated : 12 Jan 2023, 04:15 PM

Juventus visit Serie A leaders Napoli on Friday in a top-of-the-table clash looking to extend their winning league run to nine games as they play catch-up in the title race.

Juve won again on Saturday when Danilo scored the only goal against Udinese and have not conceded in their eight straight victories. They are seven points behind Napoli after 17 games.

The Turin side are unbeaten in their last two league matches against Napoli although coach Massimiliano Allegri downplayed the significance of the match, noting the season was still not at its halfway point following the World Cup break.

"We must keep taking things one step at a time," Allegri said. "We need to keep our heads down and keep going. Trophies are won in the last two months of the season."

The game will be Juve's last with Andrea Agnelli as chairman. The club is under scrutiny from prosecutors and the country's market watchdog for alleged false accounting, leading its board to resign last month.

Juve has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said it would defend its interests with all sporting and legal bodies.

The new board of directors and chairman Gianluca Ferrero will take over on Wednesday.

"There isn’t much to say about Agnelli. The results he has achieved in the last 12 years speak for themselves," said Allegri. "I am grateful to him for allowing me to coach Juventus, stay close to me and work together for many years."

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti will be in more buoyant mood after they bounced back from their first league defeat of the season at Inter Milan by winning at Sampdoria on Sunday.

"It's a very important game (Juve) but not a decisive one," he said. "We haven't even finished the first half of the season yet. We're up against a big rival and we'll see how it goes."

Fourth-placed Inter host lowly Hellas Verona on Saturday, giving Romelu Lukaku, who has struggled for form since returning on loan from Chelsea, a chance to turn things around.

Defending champions AC Milan, who are third, cannot afford to slip up when they travel to mid-table Lecce on Saturday.

Stefano Pioli's side have several key players out injured and suffered a home exit in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday with a 1-0 loss against 10-man Torino in the last 16.

Ante Rebic, Divock Origi, Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Mike Maignan are all sidelined.

Maurizio Sarri's fifth-placed Lazio visit Sassuolo on Sunday hoping to end a streak of three Serie A games without a win, while Jose Mourinho's AS Roma, who are seventh, host Fiorentina.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher