Key points you need to know.
Juventus will host Napoli on the 28th February 2017 in the first leg of the Italian Cup semi-finals. This will be the second time the Italian giants take each other on after Juventus defeated Napoli away by 2 – 0 this past October. Things are looking good for Juventus this season. The Old Lady is sitting on top of the Italian log; just defeated their hosts, FC Porto this past week by 2-0, almost making their qualification to semi finals of the Champions League a done deal. But battling it out with Napoli will not be a walk in the park. Sitting 3rd of the Serie A log and also in the top 16 of the UCL proves what a formidable opponent Napoli is. With that said, they’ve recently lost against Real Madrid by 3-1 which could possibly affect the team’s morale negatively as opposed to that of Juve’s. In addition to that, Juventus has yet to lose or draw a single Italian match this entire season at home – defeating very strong teams, including Napoli.
Juventus has recently extended their lead at the top of Serie A to 10 points with a 2-0 win over Empoli in Turin. With Roma not in action until they head to the San Siro on Sunday evening to tackle Inter Milan, Massimiliano Allegri’s men took full advantage as a second-half brace finally overcame the visitors, who are battling for points at the other end of the table. Allegri was pleased with the team’s performance after another 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday and feels that the team has “…stepped up a gear after the break….”
Napoli on the other hand did not impress in their last Serie A match having suffered an home defeat of 2 – 0 by Atalanta who moved closer to realizing their dream of securing a place in the Champions League. Previously to this defeat, Napoli had a 14-match win streak, earning at least one point. They took the lead 1-0 early in the match against Real Madrid; however, the Spanish team turned the fate of the match and won 3-1 in the first leg of the top 16 knockout round of the Champions League.
Allegri warned not to count out Napoli as the team “…can still be in it… we have to focus only on ourselves and realise our destiny is in our own hands,” Allegri said. Describing the upcoming match as tough, the manager plans on focusing on fitness levels as well his five strong centre backs.
With both teams in the knockout stages of both Coppa Italia and Champions League, it will be interesting to see which team has the upper hand.