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12 July 2024

Napoli stumble at Empoli to allow Juventus put one hand on title

Photo: AFP


Napoli fell 2-1 to relegation candidates Empoli on Wednesday opening the way for Juventus to claim an eighth consecutive Serie A title from as early as this weekend.

Juventus beat Cagliari 2-0 on Tuesday in a game which was overshadowed by racist chanting against Moise Kean and Blaise Matuidi in Sardinia and now have an 18-point lead on second-placed Napoli.

The Turin giants play AC Milan at home this weekend and would claim another Scudetto if they open up a 21-point gap on Napoli who have lost both their matches this season to Juventus.

In order for Cristiano Ronaldo to lift his first Serie A title, Juventus would need to beat AC Milan and for Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli to lose to Genoa on Sunday.

The Portuguese superstar is currently recovering from a thigh injury.

"We deserved to lose," said Ancelotti after his side's fifth defeat this season, as they prepare for next week's Europa League quarter-final against Arsenal.

"We have to roll up sleeves and think about the next game. We were messy, inattentive, we didn't follow plans.

"It's not a defence problem, it was a subdued performance in general."

Diego Farias opened after 28 minutes for the hosts in Tuscany with a shot which took a deflection off Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski.

Former Empoli loanee Zielinski made up for his error just before the break with a superb shot from distance to level the tie.

But Giovanni Di Lorenzo sealed a precious three points for Empoli on 53 minutes, with the strugglers holding on to move out of the bottom three.

It was just the seventh win this season for Empoli.

Mauro Icardi makes his return for third-placed Inter Milan later on Wednesday against Genoa after nearly two months out following a contract dispute.

Inter are 10 points behind Napoli after their 1-0 loss to Lazio last weekend.