Sunday September 17 2017
The friendly derby

Campania plays host to its first Serie A derby in 30 years as Napoli and Benevento lock horns. Livio Caferoglu previews the occasion.

What a time to be alive if you’re of a southern Italian disposition. While Napoli have been winning plaudits for playing arguably the most attractive football in Europe, Benevento are enjoying their first-ever season as a Serie A team. Despite there being a complete contrast in how both sides have started the campaign, Sunday’s clash at the San Paolo will never be forgotten, regardless of the result.

Benevento may be the only top-flight club yet to pick up a point after the opening three games, but their fans won’t be too concerned. Indeed, the Stregoni are among those who have conceded the least number of goals to date and only lost their last two games due to a VAR decision costing them against Bologna and last-gasp Torino winner. Napoli, on the other hand, are one of three to still have a 100 percent record in the League. You can bet on a winner using the bet365 bonus code.

You’d have to go back to 2004-05 when these sides last met competitively. Napoli had just been demoted to the third tier of Italian football after they were declared bankrupt, whereas Benevento were playing Serie C1 football for the seventh-straight season. Nonetheless, the Azzurri won 2-0 home and away, although they would not leave the division until the following campaign.

The San Paolo is expected to be only 46,000 full out of a possible 60,240 on Sunday, and Benevento been allocated just 1,100 tickets due to safety reasons. The decision was out of the Partenopei’s hands, with local police wary of tempers fraying between both sets of supporters, but this is one of the friendlier derbies in Italian football.

“There were fireworks in Naples when we earned promotion into Serie A, so I assume there is a good feeling between the sets of fans. I’d like to see that not wiped out by a simple football match…” noted Giallorossi President Oreste Vigorito.

“Let nobody hold it against me, but I will admit that stopping Napoli would be very satisfying. It’d be like opening a bottle of champagne rather than a simple spumante.”

Napoli fans will forever be grateful to current Benevento Coach Marco Baroni too, as he scored the goal against Lazio that secured the second Scudetto on April 29, 1990. His hero status is unlikely to be affected even if Benevento should cause an upset at the San Paolo.

Remarkable reports suggest Benevento boss Baroni could be sacked if he doesn’t pull a shock result out of the hat. The Coach surely deserves a longer run after leading the side to Serie A for the first time in their history, but that is the cut-throat nature of the top tier in Italy, even if the likes of Sassuolo and Crotone have proved that loyalty is the best policy in recent years.

As for Napoli, they will be hoping to put their midweek defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League behind them. However, Maurizio Sarri’s side are untested in derby scenarios and would have preferred to bounce back in a more low-key affair. Benevento may be huge underdogs going into the match, but if any team are capable of witchcraft and wizardry, it’s them.

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Have your say...
talking about taking chiellini buffon and barzagli out of the team is just absurd the most likely scenario would be szczeny benatia and howedes replacing them leaving juve with a all foreign starting 11. you really shouldn't count caligara either just because of his participation in the lists i remember the likes of ganz making cl lists in the past. As for cycles you really think there is a italian player now capable of replacing dybala or sandro?
on the 20th September, 2017 at 10:22am
maybe that is the issue there are guarantees or real evident for these guys to find their way into the juve first 11. juve potentially could follow chelsea model and simply sell them off to fund more transfer of player around the globe. It is very different thing to have a collection of talented young players and a system that encourages their development and participation in first team football. As for older players come at best half the first team is under 30.
on the 20th September, 2017 at 7:31am
Anonymous- We count Caligara because he's in our squad list weekly and Champions league roster(made an appearance vs Barca). Also, our average age would drop significantly if you remove Buffon and Barza so, the average is not a concern. Juve have a great future ahead. Dybala, Bernardeschi, Keane, Orsolini, Pjaca, Rugani, Caldara, Sandro, Bentancur, Caligara, Clemenza, Mattielo,Mandragora,Kastanos et al are all top young players. I think you'll see more Italians in Juve's first team. Cycles...
on the 19th September, 2017 at 8:39pm
only if you count Caligara and lets face it he is a primavera player it is 9 players. It not like i am picking on juve in particular they are a symptom of a bigger problem come on they have the oldest team in serie and generally 8 of starting 11 are foreigners. the key issue is that they are on loan and secondly most of them aren't from juve youth system. roma still have one of the best youth systems in italy they just don't use it as for napoli grassi and inglese are decent options.
on the 19th September, 2017 at 11:04am
@Paolo - Juve have a hundred Italian Youngsters on loan, some who will return and play for the main team. With 10 Italians in the current squad. We have the next generation Italian NT CB pairing with Rugani and Caldara, Spinazzola at Sassuolo, and Keane at Verona, who'll all be with Juventus in 2018/2019. Still says alot for Italy's top team to still have that many, compared to Napoli, Inter, and Roma. That kid Claud Adjapong is a real talent that I hope Juve purchase for RB.
on the 18th September, 2017 at 1:44pm
@Save Italian youth what about jorginho he is eligible to play for italy could be another camoranesi or perrotta.

Even if you just count insigne he also happens to be the best Italian player in the league. It is absurd roma lazio fiorentina inter hell even juve aren't much better the other day they played buffon chiellini and rugani so two players towards the end of their careers and rugani. forza milan sas calgari verona spal chievo benevento because they have loads of Italian players.
on the 17th September, 2017 at 4:23pm
Really hope Benevento cause a major upset.

Napoli with Insigne the only Italian born in the starting line-up!
on the 17th September, 2017 at 9:09am

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