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Serie A Preview: Milan v Napoli

Napoli will look to extend their perfect start to life under Rafael Benitez when they travel to take on Milan in Serie A on Sunday.

The Naples outfit have won all four of their competitive fixtures under the Spaniard, a run which has seen them top Serie A and open their UEFA Champions League campaign with a victory over last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund.

Milan, meanwhile, have endured something of a mixed start to 2013-14, posting one defeat, one draw and one loss in their first three league fixtures while proving unconvincing in Europe.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men came through a potentially testing Champions League play-off against PSV Eindhoven, but needed an 82nd-minute own goal to make the breakthrough before defeating Celtic 2-0 in their first group game.

However, all three of their victories thus far this season have come at San Siro, and they go into this latest fixture boosted by a 27-year record that points firmly in their favour.

Napoli have not beaten Milan in a league game away from home since April 13 1986, when an own-goal from teenage defender Paolo Maldini and a further strike from one Diego Maradona helped secure a 2-1 win.

That famous victory came in the season prior to Maradona leading Napoli to the Scudetto, and Benitez will be keen for his team to lay down a similar marker in terms of their title hopes with a historic win.

His chances of overseeing such a famous victory are surely helped by Milan’s injury list, which includes Riccardo Montolivo, Stephan El Shaarawy, Kaka (all thigh), Daniele Bonera and Mattia De Sciglio (both knee).

By contrast, Napoli have no injury worries or bans to contend with and should be in fine fettle following a hard-fought win over 10-man Dortmund on Wednesday.

Fri 20 September, 2013
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