Juve wary of Napoli threat

28 February 2013 05:16

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has warned of a late title charge by Napoli, who host the champions Friday in a match expected to be attended by Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

With 12 games remaining in the season Juventus hold a six-point lead over second-placed Napoli following a disappointing scoreless draw away to Udinese for the Partenopei.

That result left many observers in Italy claiming Juve, who remained unbeaten on their way to a 28th league title last season, were more than ever destined to defend their crown.

But with Juventus poised to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, following a last 16 first leg rout of Celtic (3-0), Conte believes Napoli are now better placed for a late title charge.

The former two-time champions were knocked out of the Europa League last week and are no longer in contention for the Italian Cup they won last season.

"Napoli still have a chance of winning the title, it's the only objective they've got left this season," Conte said Thursday.

Conte has a full squad available for a match at the San Paolo which former Napoli striker Maradona -- who is visiting Italy in a bid to settle a massive tax bill with the authorities -- is set to watch.

It will add extra spice to an already charged fixture, but Conte said: "We're relaxed and will be going to Naples to play our usual game.

"Tomorrow's game is just one of many big encounters we have this season."

Lazio, who sit 11 points behind Juve, could meanwhile see their third place come under threat away to AC Milan in Saturday's only game.

Milan missed the chance to go third after drawing with Inter in the Milan derby last Sunday but would achieve that aim with victory over the Biancocelesti at the San Siro.

Serie A's remaining fixtures will be held on Sunday.

Source: AFP