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Damiani: Pogba or Higuain to settle Juventus v Napoli

Oscar Damiani believes star men Paul Pogba and Gonzalo Higuain possess the quality to decide the crunch clash between his former clubs Juventus and Napoli.

Napoli lead the way in Serie A, sitting two points ahead of reigning champions Juventus at the summit.

The holders have recovered from a bad start to their title defence to lead the chasing pack in second place thanks to a club-record run of 14 consecutive league wins.

France international midfielder Pogba has been an influential performer during that sequence and will look to extend the streak at Juventus Stadium, although Argentina striker Higuain will have other ideas after scoring 24 goals in 24 matches to storm to the top of the Serie A scoring charts.

“This match will be decided by one single moment of talent,” Damiani, who was part of the Juventus side that won Serie A in 1974-75, told Omnisport.

“Despite having different characteristics, Juventus and Napoli are on the same level. Not to mention anyone in particular, but [Gonzalo] Higuain on one side and [Paul] Pogba on the other could be decisive.

“Pogba has already been instrumental in the past against Napoli, and Higuain is the top scorer and a great champion. It will be a great game, there will be lots of goals and the fans will be happy.”

Massimo Mauro, who ended a four-year stint at Juventus to join Napoli in 1989, believes Higuain is the key ingredient that offsets the defensive frailties shown on occasions by Maurizio Sarri’s men.

“If Napoli were to win the league, it would be the first time a team that didn’t boast the best defence would have won the title,” Mauro told Omnisport.

“But Napoli have Higuain, an impressive striker who has been scoring one goal every match on average. That’s something that has never happened in Serie A.

“It could happen that Napoli – even without the best defence but with a brilliant Higuain could win the title. There will be balance until the end, until the last two weeks.”

Nevertheless, Jose Altafini – a Juventus team-mate of Damiani’s following an acclaimed spell with Napoli – thinks the title-winning know-how of Massimiliano Allegri’s squad could be enough to get them over the line.

“Juventus have a lot of experience. They know what it means to always play for the highest stakes,” he told Omnisport.

“They won four league titles in a row and reached a Champions League final [last season]. They are calmer than Napoli.

“Napoli have to win the league this year. They are playing well and have great confidence. 

“The cooler team will win.”

Fri 12 Feb, 2016
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