28 Mar Napoli vs Juventus Preview: Sarri’s prodigal son returns home
In just a few days Gonzalo Higuaín and Juventus will travel south to face his former club Napoli in one of the most anticipated matches of the season.
The Argentinian, who spent three seasons with the Azzurri scoring 71 goals in 104 games, is grateful to former manager Maurizio Sarri for his development as a player:
“Sarri made me grow and he has been a great coach for me. If he’s angry about me leaving without saying goodbye to him, then I apologise – I can only thank him.”
This will be his first trip back to the Stadio San Paulo since joining rivals Juventus for a fee of € 90 million last July and he can be sure of a hostile reception from the moment he sets foot in Naples.
The alleged betrayal will still be fresh in the minds of fans who once idolised the striker, but not too long ago were burning shirts with his name on when the move was announced.
The last time the two teams met in the league was back in October in Turin, Juventus were victorious after Higuaín’s 71st minute goal sealed a 2-1 victory against his old side.
Going into the game this weekend Juve currently sit at the top of Serie A on 73 points, ten points clear of Sunday’s opponents.
In their last 20 home games against teams positioned in the top half of the table, Napoli have won 13, drawn four and lost three.
The match will see two of Italy’ top strikers, with Higuaín on 19, while his former team-mate Dries Mertens has found the net for Napoli 20 times. Torino’s Andrea Belotti tops the scorer charts with 22 goals.
Juventus could be without several key players for the tie due to injuries, as Morocco’s Medhi Benatia, Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean are doubtful or out, with Lorenzo Tonelli a doubt for the home-side also due to injury.
Senegalese international Koulibaly Kalidou, Guinea’s Amadou Diwara and Algeria’s Faouzi Ghoulem are all available to play for the Azzurri on Sunday, Ghanaian international Kwadwo Asamoah could feature for Juventus if selected by manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Football fans throughout Africa will be able to see the match live on the ST World Football Channel (245) at 20:45 on Sunday. It is one of nine Serie A matches that StarSat subscribers will be able to see live on Saturday and Sunday.
Sports channels director, Muke Mwai Mugo believes that a game of such magnitude will be hugely popular with football fans all over the continent: “This is the one we’ve all been waiting for, Higuaín’s return to Napoli – he’s always been massive here in Africa since his days at Real Madrid.
“A win here for Juventus ends any hope Napoli has of lifting the title at the end of the season, so you can expect to see plenty of attacking action from the visitors with Higuaín at the centre of it all.”
After Sunday’s fixture the two sides wait just three days till they face off again in Naples in the second leg of their Coppa Italia cup tie, Juventus won the first leg 3-1 in Turin.
Schedule for Serie A’s matchday 30 is as follows:
- April 1 at 18:00: Sassuolo vs Lazio on channel 245 (World Football)
- April 1 at 20:45: Roma vs Empoli on channel 246 (Sports Premium)
- April 2 at 12:30: Torino vs Udinese on channel 245 (World Football)
- April 2 at 15:00: Chievoverona vs Crotone on channel 243 (Sports Life)
- April 2 at 15:00: Fiorentina vs Bologna on channel 241 (Sports Arena)
- April 2 at 15:00: Genoa vs Atalanta on channel 240 (Sports Focus)
- April 2 at 15:00: Pescara vs Milan on channel 246 (Sports Premium)
- April 2 at 20:45: Napoli vs Juventus on channel 245 (World Football)
- April 3 at 20:45: Inter vs Sampdoria on channel 246 (Sports Premium)