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Serie A preview: Pressure on Napoli as Juve near Scudetto

Juventus will look to further close in on the Serie A title at Bologna, while Napoli risk losing second place when they host Atalanta.

Defending champions Juventus moved nine points clear at top of the table last week following a 1-0 victory at home to Catania.

For 90 minutes it seemed Juventus would be held to a scoreless draw, before substitute Emanuele Giaccherini broke the deadlock in stoppage time.

The result was a heartbreaking one for Napoli, who all but conceded defeat in the title race after a shock 2-0 loss at Chievo.

Juventus tackle Bologna on Saturday, where striker Manolo Gabbiadini will come up against one of the clubs who owns him.

Gabbiadini moved to Bologna on loan last August after Juventus purchased 50 percent of his contract from Atalanta.

“We know that the city is eagerly awaiting this game. It is an important match and we are preparing for it as we do every week,” he told the Bologna website.

“Nor will it be a different game for me. With all due respect to which opponent I have in front of me, I will not be affected by anyone.”

With just four points in five matches, Napoli could slip to third spot if they lose to Atalanta on Sunday.

Napoli were once considered genuine threats to Juventus, but could miss out on a European berth altogether with AC Milan, Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Lazio looming.

In other Sunday matches, Milan, two points behind Napoli, are expected to beat bottom-placed Palermo, while Fiorentina entertain Genoa, who could fall into the relegation zone if they fail to cause an upset.

Inter, stunned by Bologna last week, travel to 11th-placed Sampdoria, and Lazio will aim to bounce back from two straight losses when they tackle Torino.

Seventh-placed Roma, unbeaten in four games, take on 12th-placed Parma, while relegation-threatened Siena, fresh from their victory over Palermo, journey to 13th-placed Cagliari.

Pescara , reeling from four consecutive losses, welcome 16th-placed Chievo, and eighth-placed Catania take on ninth-placed Udinese in the opening match of the weekend on Saturday.

Thu 14 Mar, 2013
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