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Juventus 2018-19: Bianconeri join Europe´s fastest title triumphs

For the eighth year in a row Juventus are the champions of Serie A, but their latest triumph may be their most impressive yet.

The competition has been simply obliterated, with Juve beaten only twice in the league this season as Cristiano Ronaldo rested up at Genoa and SPAL.

Napoli, the closest of the other contenders, have been unable to match Juve’s searing pace and, despite having six matches still to play, their title hopes are already over after a 2-1 comeback win over Fiorentina crowned Juve again.

Ronaldo’s arrival from Real Madrid might not have delivered the intended results in the Champions League, but it appears to have inspired Juve to new heights domestically.

Eight straight Scudetti sets a new record in Europe’s top-five leagues, outrstripping Lyon’s seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles between 2001-02 and 2007-08, while no Serie A club has ever sealed the deal with more than Juve’s five games remaining.

Omnisport takes a look at six of the fastest triumphs across the continent since the start of the 21st century, when league success has not necessarily coincided with European glory.

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bayern lead the way in the Bundesliga having claimed the 2013-14 title after just 27 matchdays. Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge of the Bavarian giants was a roaring success, Bayern also claiming the DFB-Pokal, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Mario Mandzukic, now playing a key role for Juve, led the way with 18 Bundesliga goals and Bayern only lost twice in the top flight. A 5-0 aggregate thrashing by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals marred their season, though.

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain

There were still eight rounds of games to go when PSG won the Ligue 1 title in 2015-16 under Laurent Blanc. Indeed, they could have sealed the league even earlier having been unbeaten in their first 27 matches of the campaign before suffering a 2-1 loss away to Lyon at the end of February. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an amazing 50 goals in all competitions but there was European disappointment for PSG, too, after being edged out 3-2 on aggregate by Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Premier League: Manchester United, Manchester City

Two clubs have won the Premier League with five games still to play this century: Manchester United and their rivals Manchester City. United cruised to glory in the 2000-01 season under Alex Ferguson, losing only twice before the end of March, although they ended the campaign limply with three consecutive defeats. United reached the last eight of the Champions League but found Bayern too strong.

City smashed a series of records in crushing the competition last term, as they also won the league with five games remaining – denied the outright Premier League best mark when United won a dramatic Manchester derby 3-2. Guardiola’s City racked up 100 points, finished 19 clear of United and boasted a stunning goal difference of +79. There was more European disappointment for Guardiola, though, with a 3-0 loss at Anfield setting up a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals.

LaLiga: Barcelona

Guardiola’s former club Barcelona are on track to win the league again this term, having had four games remaining when they secured the title under Ernesto Valverde last season. They sealed the double by collecting the Copa del Rey, demolishing Sevilla 5-0 in a marvellous display that marked Andres Iniesta’s farewell. But Barca were on the wrong end of one of the great Champions League comebacks, contriving to exit at the quarter-final stage to Roma by losing 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, having won the first leg 4-1 at home.

Serie A: Inter

Prior to Juve’s success this term, Inter’s 2006-07 triumph under Roberto Mancini was out in front as the quickest Scudetto secured, with the Nerazzurri having five games in hand. Inter did not lose until mid-April, going down 3-1 at home to Roma in their only league defeat of the season. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, again losing to Roma after a stunning 6-2 first-leg defeat. As is the case with all the other record-holders mentioned above, Inter underperformed in Europe, with Valencia knocking them out of the Champions League in the round of 16.

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Juventus 2018-19: How the Old Lady won an eighth straight Serie A title

Juventus became Serie A champions for the eighth successive season by beating Fiorentina 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Success looked a formality for much of the campaign for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, as they were once more far and away the best team in Italy and Napoli could not exert as much pressure as last term.

Just two league defeats – Cristiano Ronaldo was rested in last weekend’s loss to SPAL and also when they lost their unbeaten run at Genoa in March – meant Napoli’s hopes of clawing back a double-figure deficit had long since disappeared.

Allegri’s side clinched the Scudetto with five matches to play, levelling the record for the fastest title triumph in Serie A history since three points were first awarded for a win in 1994-95.

Omnisport examines the key results in their journey to glory.

August 18: Chievo 2-3 Juventus – Ronaldo’s difficult debut

For a while, Ronaldo’s Serie A bow following a €112million move from Real Madrid looked set to go horribly wrong, as hosts Chievo – who started the season as favourites for the drop – took a 2-1 lead just after half-time back in August. A Mattia Bani own goal 15 minutes from time drew Juve level, though a late winner looked set to desert them when a Ronaldo handball saw VAR rule out a Mario Mandzukic goal. Nevertheless, Federico Bernardeschi won the game in stoppage time to spare the new man’s blushes and rescue the champions.

September 29: Juventus 3-1 Napoli – Old Lady make an early statement

It quickly became apparent that, much like last season, if any team was to challenge Juve for the Serie A title it would be Napoli. But their meeting in Turin in September highlighted the gulf between them following Maurizio Sarri’s departure from Naples. Although Dries Mertens gave Napoli a 10th-minute lead, a Mandzukic double had Juve ahead just after the break. Mario Rui’s sending off only made the visitors’ situation more difficult, and Leonardo Bonucci wrapped things up late on to deal an early blow in the title race.

November 11: AC Milan 0-2 Juventus – Ronaldo nets first San Siro goal

While Milan are not the powerhouse they once were, a trip to San Siro rarely represents a straightforward job. Juve’s November visit was a gripping one, although it will arguably be better remembered for Gonzalo Higuain’s nightmare against his parent club than anything else. The on-loan Rossoneri striker had a penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny following Mandzukic’s eighth-minute opener, and he was sent off towards the end for berating the referee, needing several team-mates to escort him off the pitch. Just two minutes earlier, Ronaldo had secured the win with Juve’s second.

December 7: Juventus 1-0 Inter – Derby d’Italia win opens 11-point gap

Juve looked certainties to win Serie A yet again as early as December. A hard-fought 1-0 triumph in a tense Derby d’Italia against Inter extended their lead at the summit to 11 points. The ever-reliable Mandzukic was decisive with a header, moving Juve on to 43 points, equalling Paris Saint-Germain’s record for the best total after 15 games of a single season in Europe’s top five leagues.

December 26: Atalanta 2-2 Juventus – Benched Ronaldo saves the day

Allegri opted to rest Ronaldo for the Boxing Day trip to Atalanta, but the Portugal star ultimately ended up rescuing Juve. A Duvan Zapata double saw the hosts come from behind and take a 2-1 lead early in the second half, with Rodrigo Bentancur receiving his marching orders in the 53rd minute. Ronaldo soon entered from the bench and he levelled with 12 minutes remaining, preserving Juve’s unbeaten start to the season.

March 3: Napoli 1 Juventus 2 – Title out of Ancelotti’s reach

Napoli were already 13 points adrift of Juve when they met at Stadio San Paolo in March and an away win for Allegri’s men effectively put them beyond reach. After goalkeeper Alex Meret was sent off in the 25th minute, Miralem Pjanic curled the resultant free-kick home and Emre Can made it 2-0 just before the break. Pjanic joined Meret in making an early exit following a second booking two minutes after the interval and Jose Callejon pulled one back. Lorenzo Insigne’s 84th-minute penalty hit the post, though, compounding a disappointing day for Napoli.

April 6: Juventus 2-1 Milan – Kean keeps his cool

One of the main talking points in world football recently has been the alleged racist abuse suffered by Moise Kean against Cagliari, and Bonucci’s suggestion the teenager was partly to blame for it rightly caused a stir. But Kean was once more impressive three days later versus Milan, coming off the bench to score the winner – fittingly after a Bonucci error had initially allowed Krzysztof Piatek to open the scoring. It was not quite enough to seal the title and a shock loss at SPAL delayed the party, but Juve completed the job against Fiorentina.

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Juventus 2 Fiorentina 1: Bianconeri bounce back to seal Scudetto

Juventus swapped Champions League heartbreak for Serie A joy as they sealed the title with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Bundled out of Europe by Ajax in midweek, Massimiliano Allegri’s men completed a domestic formality thanks to Alex Sandro’s first-half header and a German Pezzella own goal eight minutes after the interval.

One point stood between Juve and an eighth-successive Scudetto and they were made to work for all three following Nikola Milenkovic’s surprise sixth-minute opener.

The woodwork twice prevented Federico Chiesa from making life more difficult for the Bianconeri, but they shook off the lethargy in the second half to open an insurmountable lead over second-place Napoli.

Juve’s confidence, diminished after their loss to Ajax, ebbed further when Chiesa’s cross broke perfectly for midfielder Milenkovic to sweep home.

Fiorentina, in contrast, grew in stature, with a combination of the offside flag and the right post denying Giovanni Simeone and winger Chiesa.

The hosts needed inspiration and Alex Sandro provided it with a diving near-post header from Miralem Pjanic’s corner in the 37th minute, yet Fiorentina would have surged ahead again had the crossbar not then kept out Chiesa’s thumping strike.

The tension was released soon after the interval. Cristiano Ronaldo found space to the right of goal and defender Pezzella turned the attacker’s pass into his own net.

Juve were suddenly emboldened by belief and Pjanic, Ronaldo and Juan Cuadrado all saw shots blocked in quick succession.

Their Portuguese superstar ultimately went unrewarded in his attempts to score his 600th club goal, but that can be put on hold as the Bianconeri uncork the champagne.

What does it mean? Allegri worthy of adulation

Allegri was forced to defend his Juve record following the surprise quarter-final exit to Ajax in the Champions League.

While continental success is still clearly the major prize, the ex-AC Milan boss deserves his share of plaudits for juggling egos and orchestrating the most serene of title triumphs, his sixth overall in Serie A.

Chiesa exudes class

Still just 21, Fiorentina forward Chiesa is again being mentioned in transfer rumours as the off-season approaches.

Suitors will be lining up based on the strength of his performance here, which included forcing the opening goal, two shots that came back off the woodwork, and several more flashes of mesmerising ability.

It came as a major surprise that Vincenzo Montella withdrew his most dangerous player with 24 minutes to play.

Rusty Cuadrado loses his radar

Making a rare start in a season inhibited by fitness issues, the fleet-footed Cuadrado will have only finished this match with a greater sense of personal frustration.

His shooting was wild and rushed, the signs of a player desperate to impress but lacking sharpness.

Key Opta Facts

– Juventus have equalled the record as earliest title winners in Serie A in the three-points era – same as Inter in 2006-07.
– They have now played 150 Serie A matches at the Allianz Stadium, recording 127 wins (85 per cent) and scoring 335 goals.
– Since his Serie A debut (September 2015), Alex Sandro has been directly involved in 23 goals (10 goals and 13 assists), more than any other defender.
– Only Borussia Dortmund and Sassuolo (both 18) have scored with more different players than Juventus (17) in the top-five European leagues in 2018-19.
– Juventus and AC Milan are the two teams to have benefited from the most own goals in the current league season (four each).

What’s next?

Juve make the trip to Milan for a date with Inter next Saturday.

Fiorentina contest the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final tie against Atalanta – which is evenly poised at 3-3 – on Thursday, before hosting Sassuolo in Serie A the following Monday.

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Derby d’Italia to produce fireworks

 

The Derby d’Italia is one of the biggest games on the Serie A calendar every season.

Friday’s encounter between the two eternal rivals will have plenty of fiery action as Inter Milan sit 11 points behind Juventus after 14 games. Juventus are yet to lose this season. If Inter can take all three points, it would give them or Napoli a chance in the race for the Scudetto.

Inter have won just three times in their last 18 meetings with Juventus in all competitions. Inter haven’t won in Turin since November 2012. Since that win, Inter have travelled to Turin on six more occasions and left without a victory. Last season, Juventus took four points from six with the two playing out a nil-nil draw at the Juventus Stadium. Their game at the San Siro produced a 3-2 Juventus win.

The Nerazzurri are undefeated in their last two Serie A matches. They drew 2-2 with Roma in their last game after giving up one goal leads twice in the match. Juventus have won five straight Serie A fixtures and dominated Fiorentina in their most recent game, 3-0. The Bianconeri have kept three straight clean sheets while scoring seven goals. Juventus have tallied a league leading 31 goals while conceding a Serie A low of eight.

Cristiano Ronaldo leads Serie A in goals with 10. The former Real Madrid man has made a strong Bianconeri team even more difficult to beat. Ronaldo has added five assists, which means he has contributed to 15 of Juventus’ 31 goals. The forward has scored or created 48.4 percent of all Juventus goals. It does show some dependence on the Portuguese player, much like Real Madrid had on him. Juventus may have defensive midfielder Emre Can back from injury. The German midfielder is aiming for a return to the squad on Friday night.

Mauri Icardi remains Inter’s top goal scorer. The Argentine has tallied eight strikes this term along with two assists. In 10 career games against Juventus, Icardi has tallied eight strikes and two assists. However, he has only led Inter to victory three times, while drawing four games and losing five. Eleven other Inter players have scored at least one goal. Meanwhile, 12 Inter players have assisted a goal. The Nerazzurri aren’t reliant on just one player, but they get contributions from many.

Juventus have been rolling along in Serie A. The talent on hand is far superior to other Italian teams, including Inter. Friday night’s game will see goals with Juventus getting a vital winner against Inter in a close game. Juventus will tighten their grip on Serie A with a 14th win.

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Allegri convinced Juve can get past Spurs

Massimiliano Allegri insisted Juventus can still get past Tottenham in the Champions League after they responded to a 2-2 draw with Spurs by winning the Derby della Mole 1-0 at Torino on Sunday.

The Scudetto holders gave up an early 2-0 lead and missed a penalty at home to Mauricio Pochettino’s team in the round of 16 on Tuesday, and the Premier League side will have the advantage of two away goals in the return fixture at Wembley next month.

Disappointment at the result did not prevent Juve from keeping the pressure on Napoli in Serie A, though, Alex Sandro’s 33rd-minute goal sealing all three points against their cross-city rivals at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

“[We] made too many technical errors after going 2-0 up against Tottenham and they had more chances than we did, but we go to London convinced we can do it,” Allegri told Mediaset Premium after the derby.

“Juve are a strong side with extraordinary players, so I am happy to train them. We’re challenging on all three fronts, only got it wrong in four games and I don’t consider the 2-2 with Tottenham to be a failure, nor a tragedy.

“I am proud of the lads and today we saw a good reaction, as we enjoyed ourselves even during difficult moments.”

Paulo Dybala made his return from a hamstring injury off the bench in the second half against Torino, replacing Douglas Costa in the 66th minute, having not featured since a 1-0 win at Cagliari on January 6.

“Dybala did well for 30 minutes. Obviously he’s lacking match fitness, but that will come,” Allegri said.

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Juventus 2 Genoa 0: Dybala & Higuain secure Coppa Italia quarter-final spot

Juventus booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia with a 2-0 win over Genoa thanks to goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain

Dybala was back in the team for the visit of Genoa and opened the scoring towards the end of the first half as he curled a low shot past goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna.

Juventus dominated the first half but it was a different story as Genoa responded after the break and had chances to equalise.

A mistake from Andrea Barzagli almost proved costly before striker Andrey Galabinov twice went close to levelling.

Massimiliano Allegri cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as his much-changed team laboured at times in the second half, until Higuain made the game safe on 76 minutes.

The striker struck low, after good work from Dybala, to secure the win in what was a tougher game than the hosts may have expected, against a team struggling at the foot of the Serie A table.

Allegri made eight changes to his starting line-up but still had plenty of quality on show with Federico Bernardeschi back in the team and at the heart of the hosts’ best attacking moves in the opening 45 minutes.

The Italian set up Douglas Costa for Juve’s first effort on goal after 24 minutes, but the Brazilian’s shot was parried to safety by goalkeeper Lamanna.

The Juventus threat increased as the half wore on and Genoa were warned again when Claudio Marchisio latched onto a cross before turning and firing over the bar.

Dybala then hit a shot wide on 38 minutes before Lamanna did well to touch a Bernardeschi free-kick onto the bar and out for a corner.

However, Juventus were not to be denied and Dybala finally broke through with just three minutes of normal time remaining in the first half, curling a low, left-footed shot past Lamanna.

Genoa had a glorious chance to equalise shortly after the break as a poor pass from Barzagli allowed Ricardo Centurion to latch onto the ball, but he could not quite get his shot away and could only run the ball out of play.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was then called into action for the first time of the evening, touching a fierce strike from Galabinov over the bar.

With an hour gone, Allegri sent on Higuain for Costa but still Genoa threatened, Galabinov shooting fractionally wide of the post as the game started to open up.

Unsurprisingly Giorgio Chiellini also came on as a substitute, in a bid to strengthen the home defence and add some authority to a backline that was being tested by a Genoa side with little to lose.

Juventus then showed the difference in quality late on to secure the win, as Dybala slid in a pass to Higuain who finished expertly to double Juve’s lead.

The hosts then survived a late scare as Genoa were awarded a penalty, after Kwadwo Asamoah tangled with Pietro Pellegri in the penalty area, only for referee Fabio Maresca to reverse the decision after consulting with the VAR.

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Bologna 0 Juventus 3: Pjanic, Mandzukic and Matuidi send champions second

Juventus climbed up to second in Serie A as Miralem Pjanic inspired a comfortable 3-0 win at Bologna.

Inter suffered a first defeat of the season on Saturday, going down 3-1 at home to Udinese and leaving the door ajar for Massimiliano Allegri’s men to leapfrog them as closest challengers to leaders Napoli.

It was an opportunity the champions were forced to approach patiently at first but Bologna’s resistance and ambition appeared to desert them entirely once Pjanic’s 27th-minute free-kick had got the better of goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina playmaker turned provider with an excellent lofted ball for Mario Mandzukic to double the lead before half-time and any remaining doubt over the destination of the points was extinguished when Blaise Matuidi emphatically smashed in his first Juventus goal in the 64th minute.

Napoli’s advantage at the summit is now trimmed to one point as Allegri’s squad with reams of title-winning knowhow prepare for next weekend’s match against Roma – a crunch clash that arrives after a midweek Coppa Italia assignment versus Genoa.

Allegri again opted to leave Paulo Dybala on the bench and Juventus had a solid grip on possession during the first 25 minutes without creating any chances of note.

A Bologna counter-attack saw Godfred Donsah test Wojciech Szczesny’s handling with a firmly struck shot but Juve had their set-piece specialist on hand to succeed where they had failed until that point from open play.

Mattia Destro brought down Alex Sandro on the left-hand corner of the penalty area and Pjanic curled a free-kick inside the near post that Mirante could only palm into the net.

Juve swiftly doubled their advantage in the 36th minute, with Pjanic to the fore again as he picked out Mandzukic with a sublime raking pass.

The Croatia forward chested down impeccably and hooked a shot towards the far corner despite some close attention from Ibrahima Mbaye. Once more, Mirante got a hand to the shot but was unable to alter the outcome.

Bologna boss Roberto Donadoni had his decision to replace striker Destro with Bruno Petkovic whistled in the 53rd minute and the closest a home player came to putting the ball in the net before the hour was when Filip Helander almost prodded Alex Sandro’s cross into his own goal.

Helander’s attempts to clear the next cross from the Brazil full-back also left much to be desired when he shovelled a bouncing ball in the direction of Matuidi, who lashed unforgivingly into the bottom corner to ensure Juve would make it four wins from their last five top-flight away games.

Some wasteful finishing from Gonzalo Higuain prevented Juve from running up a more handsome scoreline, while fellow attacker Mandzukic limping off with 15 minutes left gave cause for some concern.

But the sight of a player as wonderfully gifted as Dybala coming on in his place and streaking clear of Bologna defenders to fire narrowly over underlined the fact that Donadoni’s worries, after six defeats the last nine, might be somewhat greater.

Key Opta Stats:

– The last team to score at least 44 goals after 17 games in Serie A was Juventus in 1959-60.
– Juventus have not conceded goals in eight of the 10 games in which Medhi Benatia has played 90 minutes, included the last six.
– The last Miralem Pjanic free-kick scored in Serie A was back in November 2016 versus Genoa.
– In the last 10 years no player has scored more free-kick goals than Miralem Pjanic in Serie A (14).

– Juventus scored three goals against Bologna with their first three shots on target.

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Napoli 0 Juventus 1: Higuain hands boost to title defence against former club

Gonzalo Higuain overcame a fractured hand to help Juventus pull within a point of leaders Napoli in the Serie A title race, scoring the decisive goal in a tight 1-0 win over his former club.

Higuain had been a doubt for Friday’s contest against the team he left for Juve in a €90million move in July last year after undergoing surgery on his left hand.

But the Argentina striker was named in the starting XI and needed just 12 minutes to make what proved to be the key contribution as Juve boosted their momentum in the hunt for a seventh successive Scudetto, while Napoli’s hopes of a first league title since the 1989-90 season hit an early setback.

Napoli have lit up both Serie A and the Champions League this season with their entertaining and free-scoring style of play under Maurizio Sarri.

Yet they were frustrated following Higuain’s opener, with Gianluigi Buffon untested in the Juve goal in the second half. The Turin club are now second – a point ahead of Inter, who can go top with a win over Chievo on Sunday, having played a game more – and remain three clear of Roma, who beat SPAL 3-1 in the day’s earlier game.

Both teams must quickly turn their attention to Champions League football in midweek, with Napoli taking on Feyenoord and Juventus visiting Olympiacos as they each bid to seal a place in the last 16.

Higuain forced Pepe Reina into action in the fourth minute as he was denied at the near post after being played in by Douglas Costa.

The same two players were involved when Reina was beaten eight minutes later.

Costa started a quick counter-attack and Paulo Dybala’s superb pass found Higuain, who slotted the ball inside Reina’s left-hand post.

Napoli responded well, though, and Marek Hamsik forced Buffon to parry behind with a long-range strike.

But Costa continued to cause Napoli problems on the break, another marauding run leading to a cutback that Higuain saw deflected for a corner, from which Medhi Benatia lashed wide.

Lorenzo Insigne curled towards the roof of the net only to be thwarted by Buffon, who then kept out his header from the resulting corner.

Dybala threatened to double Juve’s lead before the break, but could not produce the finish to match his surge into the Napoli half.

Jose Callejon flashed a shot wide as Napoli continued to be frustrated despite dictating the play, and the San Paolo grew further exasperated when the hosts were denied a penalty when Dries Mertens went down as he battled for the ball with Giorgio Chiellini.

Napoli were grateful to Reina for keeping them within touching distance in the 68th minute, the Spaniard turning over Blaise Matuidi’s strike into the ground after the France midfielder latched on to Miralem Pjanic’s perfectly weighted cross-field ball.

Insigne drove wide of the far post on the half-volley in what was Napoli’s last legitimate chance, Juve successfully sitting deep to secure a result that will, despite Napoli’s position at the summit, reaffirm their status as title favourites.

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The battle for dominance. Napoli vs Juventus

The encounter between these two Italian giant clubs on the 1st day of the last month in the year 2017 will certainly be nothing less than a mouthwatering clash, the two sides have always stood neck to neck in the scudetto race in the past few seasons.

Juventus without hesitation have dominated the Serie A for the past six seasons, claiming the scudetto prize on those six occasions. It seems that Juventus will finally lose their grip as the dominating club in Italy when they path ways with exceptional players such as Tevez, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba in succession.

However, they’ve always find a way to keep the team’s level and they’ve never stopped performing at a high level even in the UEFA Champions League, reaching the final on two occasions in the last four seasons, though they were pipped to the trophy on those two occasions by Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

There are several teams in Italy who could challenge the dominance of Juventus, teams like; Roma, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Lazio and many more, But only Napoli has shown the potency strong enough to push Juve aside. Will they eventually be successful? No one knows and time will certainly tell, even though there are high expectations this season.

Napoli are not just presently a strong team, they are certainly an exciting side to watch, Pep Guardiola considered them to be probably the best team he has ever faced and heaped praises on their manager, Maurizio Sarri, who has done excellently well so far. Pep and Sarri both share the same philosophy about football, and they are admired for their teams attacking prowess.

Both Juventus and Napoli have lost 1 of their last 6 matches in all competition. And of course, Napoli lost to a highflying Manchester city who are presently considered to be the best team in Europe ahead of Barcelona, PSG and Real Madrid. While Juventus lost 2-3 at home against a 6th placed Sampdoria in the league.

Napoli are unbeaten in their last 26 league games, 14 of which are in this present campaign.

Juventus even in their not so good form are the team with the highest number of goals scored in the league, 40. 12 of which are from Paolo Dybala and 8 from Higuaín who is presently recovering from a hand surgery. Even though the doctors did not specify the date of his return, Higuaín who sat out of Juve’s victory over Crotone will obviously recover in time to feature against his former side.

Napoli alongside Roma have conceded the fewest number of goals, 9 in the ongoing league campaign.

The clash between these two sides have always been a fierce one, and Juve might have clinched the scudetto for the past 6 consecutive seasons, they’ve only managed to claim 1 victory in their last 13 visits to Stadio San Paolo (D4, L8)

Juventus lies in 3rd position, 4 points adrift of 1st placed Napoli and will be without the experiences of Gorgio Chiellini at the back, for this clash, and that could be a telling point.

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Juventus 2 Benevento 1: Second-half comeback saves champions´ blushes

Juventus survived a scare with an underwhelming 2-1 home win over Serie A’s bottom side Benevento sending them up to second on Sunday.

The reigning champions took their opportunity to leapfrog Inter, who drew 1-1 with Torino earlier in the day, as Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado denied the determined visitors their first top-flight points.

Benevento have now lost all 12 of their league games this season, but can take heart from giving the Bianconeri real difficulties at Allianz Stadium.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side even took an unlikely first-half lead when Amato Ciciretti’s free-kick left Wojciech Szczesny, in for the rested Gianluigi Buffon, rooted to the spot.

Although that was the visitors’ only shot of the opening period, it took Massimiliano Allegri’s men – wearing a special 120th anniversary kit – until the 57th minute to forge a breakthrough as Higuain coolly dispatched his fifth goal in four matches in all competitions.

Cuadrado then clinched the points with a close-range header to the relief of the home supporters, Juve now trailing Serie A leaders Napoli by only a point after their 0-0 draw at Chievo.

A dazzling early Douglas Costa dash down the left flank almost led to the opener as his low cross was parried awkwardly against the near post by Alberto Brignoli.

And Costa soon came close again – this time without the aid of the goalkeeper – rattling a left-footed strike against the angle of the upright and crossbar.

But the goal instead came at the other end. Benevento captain Ciciretti curled a free-kick around the wall and beyond the idle Szczesny, celebrating maniacally as the Allianz Stadium fell to a stunned silence.

Cuadrado should have drawn Juventus level when he ran through from Paulo Dybala’s pass, but the Colombian blazed his effort over the top.

Brignoli then brilliantly stood tall to block from Dybala after he shimmied through the visiting back line, before the same man somehow shot wide when Higuain teed up a clear opening.

The keeper saved again from a Costa free-kick as Benevento incredibly survived the onslaught to take their lead into half-time, with Juve initially continuing to struggle after the restart.

However, the first big opportunity of the second half fell Higuain’s way and he made no mistake, sweeping a pinpoint finish into the top-right corner from Blaise Matuidi’s knockdown.

Brignoli persisted with his brave resistance as he denied Cuadrado’s effort and then scrambled across his goal line to dive on Higuain’s trundling rebound, before Matuidi nodded over.

But the turnaround was complete in the 65th minute, with Cuadrado meeting Alex Sandro’s deep cross with a firm downward header that bounced up past Brignoli.

Danilo Cataldi’s wonderful dipping effort almost restored parity, but that represented the extent of Benevento’s attacking intent as only a smart Brignoli stop kept Dybala’s replacement Rodrigo Bentancur from adding a late third.

Key Opta stats:

– Juventus have collected at least 30 points in the first 12 games for the fifth time in the last six Serie A seasons.
– Benevento equalled the worst start to a season in the top five European leagues – 12 defeats in a row, like the Manchester United 1930-31.

– Juventus trailed at half-time in a home Serie A match for the first time since September 2015 (vs Chievo).