Napoli hopes hang­ing on two matches

Bangkok Post - - SPORTS -

ROME: Napoli’s dwin­dling Se­rie A ti­tle hopes are hang­ing on a win over Udi­nese tonight be­fore this week­end’s top-ofthe-ta­ble clash against Ju­ven­tus which could seal a sev­enth-straight ti­tle for the cham­pi­ons.

The Ital­ian league is ap­proach­ing its epi­logue with two rounds of matches this week but the fi­nal word on who will lift the Scud­etto could be de­cided on Sun­day evening, at the end of the big match be­tween Ju­ven­tus and Napoli at the Al­lianz Sta­dium.

Six points sep­a­rate the six-time reign­ing cham­pi­ons from sec­ond-placed Napoli with six games to go af­ter AC Mi­lan’s Gian­luigi Don­narumma’s last-gasp save de­nied Napoli a win at the San Siro on Sun­day.

But Napoli be­lieve they can throw open the cham­pi­onship again by gar­ner­ing max­i­mum points against Udi­nese and Ju­ven­tus as they tar­get a third ti­tle af­ter 1987 and 1990.

“There are still 18 points up for grabs,” in­sisted Napoli cap­tain Marek Ham­sik.

“The gap be­tween us and Ju­ven­tus is get­ting big, but we must keep be­liev­ing un­til it’s no longer math­e­mat­i­cally pos­si­ble.”

A Napoli win over 13th-placed Udi­nese would put pres­sure on Ju­ven­tus who have big games to come against his­toric ri­vals In­ter Mi­lan and Roma, who are both fight­ing for Cham­pi­ons League places.

Ju­ven­tus travel tonight to Cro­tone in the sole of the Ital­ian penin­sula to face a side who are bat­tling for sur­vival, third from bot­tom of the ta­ble.

But Sas­suolo and SPAL have both re­cently shown Napoli and Ju­ven­tus that it is pos­si­ble to earn a draw even if you have 50 points fewer.

“It’s the de­ci­sive week but be­fore think­ing of Napoli we have to beat Cro­tone,” said Ju­ven­tus mid­fielder Blaise Ma­tu­idi, who said he was ex­pect­ing “a dif­fi­cult game, very dif­fi­cult”.

FIX­TURES

(kick-offs 1.45am Thai time un­less stated) Ben­evento v Ata­lanta (11pm), Cro­tone v Ju­ven­tus, Fiorentina v Lazio, Verona v Sas­suolo, Napoli v Udi­nese, AS Roma v Genoa, Sam­p­do­ria v Bologna, SPAL v Chievo, Torino v AC Mi­lan

AFP

Napoli’s Marek Ham­sik.

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