Juventus to host Napoli in top-of-the-table clash


MILAN (AP) -Defending champion Juventus hosts Napoli on Saturday in a clash of two unbeaten teams at the top of the Serie A standings.

Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella, who left Napoli in 2010, is relishing the meeting with both teams entering the match on 19 points.

"I'm doing well at the moment and the goals against Chelsea and Chievo have given me confidence," he said. "It will be a really great game, but it is still too early to talk about games which will decide the season. Napoli is growing and can fight for the title, it already showed that by reaching the Champions League quarterfinals last year.

"It will be a special game for me, but I will be calm. I know the passion of the Napoli fans, I always had a good relationship with them. They deserve to see their club like this, fighting for important goals. If I score, I won't celebrate. We have to remain focused. Not for 90 minutes, but for 100."

Juventus is looking to make it 47 games unbeaten in Serie A, although Napoli's victory in the Italian Cup final inflicted Juve's only loss last season.

The defending champions have been hit by Gianluigi Buffon's muscle injury in his left thigh, which forced him to sit out Italy's World Cup qualifier against Denmark, being deemed more serious than first thought.

However, defender Claudio Marchisio could recover from a shoulder problem.

Strikers Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco, and defender Paolo De Ceglie are also in doubt.

Napoli has an added incentive as it still feels hard done by in losing the Italian Supercup at Beijing. The club refused to take part in the awards ceremony after losing the match in extra time following what it believed were harsh refereeing decisions.

"After that game I felt a desire, a real desire, to quit," Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said, adding that is an option at the end of the season when his contract runs out. "I live one day at a time. On occasions I hear and see things that make me want to quit, to just give up."

Also on Saturday, struggling AC Milan visits high-flying Lazio, with vice president Adriano Galliani denying coach Massimiliano Allegri will be fired if the Rossoneri lose again.

After letting an entire squad's worth of top players leave in the offseason, Milan has lost four of its opening seven matches, marking the club's worst Serie A start in 72 years.

"However Lazio-Milan goes, it won't be the last stop for Massimiliano Allegri," Galliani said. "I expect a lot from the next game onwards, the team didn't deserve to lose the derby.

"Milan will be quicker in the next games and the squad will grow as a whole."

Striker Robinho is injured again and will miss the match. The Brazilian, who returned only at the end of September following a lengthy layoff, has hurt a muscle in his right thigh.

However, Milan is hoping forward Alexandre Pato can make his first appearance of the season against Lazio.

Lazio is third, four points behind Juventus and Napoli.

Inter Milan is level on 15 points with Lazio after winning a controversial derby match, despite playing almost the entire second half with 10 men. It hosts Catania on Sunday.

Newly appointed Cagliari coaches Ivo Pulga and Diego Lopez will be looking to extend the team's impressive start at home to Bologna. After replacing Massimo Ficcadenti, they picked up the team's first win of the season against Torino.

Elsewhere on Sunday, it's: Atalanta vs. Siena; Chievo Verona vs. Fiorentina; Palermo vs. Torino; Parma vs. Sampdoria; Udinese vs. Pescara; and Genoa vs. Roma.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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