Juve have title in sight after draw with Napoli
APNAPLES, Italy -- Serie A leader Juventus drew 1-1 at Napoli in a tense top-of-the-table match Friday that could clear the way for the Turin club to win its 28th Italian league title.
March 3, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Juventus remained six points ahead of its southern rival atop the standings with 11 rounds remaining and no more head-to-head meetings scheduled.
“It's still far off mathematically,” Juventus manager Antonio Conte said. “We still have to go play at Inter and Lazio, and host Milan.”
Defender Giorgio Chiellini put Juventus ahead with a header 10 minutes in at the San Paolo stadium and Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler equalized for Napoli in the 43rd.
Napoli had a great chance to win but Blerim Dzemaili missed a rebound from Marek Hamsik's shot in the 73rd with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon left out of position. Fans had already gotten up to celebrate but Dzemaili's shot sailed wide.
Juventus had beaten Napoli in their previous two meetings after Napoli handed Juve its only loss last season in the Italian Cup final.
“This was a big match,” Chiellini said. “We showed we can win the title. We deserve it. I think it was a fair result tonight.”
On Saturday, third-place Lazio visits fourth-place AC Milan. Lazio is 12 points behind Juve and Milan is 14 points back.
Juventus took control at the start, and Chiellini scored by redirecting a cross from Andrea Pirlo as he outjumped Uruguay defender Miguel Britos.
Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic then had two chances to make it a two-goal lead. First he missed a header wide, then Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis made a difficult save with his boot to stop an on-target effort from the Montenegro international.
As Napoli began to settle down, the action shifted to the other end and Inler scored with a long shot that deflected in off the head of defender Leonardo Bonucci into the corner of the goal past outstretched Gianluigi Buffon.