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Holders Juventus target berth in Coppa Italia final

Juventus aim to seal their spot in the Coppa Italia final when they travel to Stadio San Paolo and face Napoli in the second leg of their last-four match.

The holders needed to come back from behind in the opening leg last month but still finished the first match with a 3-1 aggregate lead, thanks to two penalty kicks from Paulo Dybala that sandwiched former Napoli target man Gonzalo Higuain’s goal.

The two sides met in a tight-fought Serie A game at the same venue last week, with Napoli forcing a split of spoils after Marek Hamsik’s emphatic hour-mark strike that cancelled Sami Khedira’s seventh-minute effort.

If that Serie A game is an indication of what is to come in this Coppa Italia match, we could be seeing an exciting battle for that finals berth.

Lazio and Roma contest for the other Coppa Italia final spot, with the former holding a 2-0 lead over the latter after an exciting first leg that saw Sergej Savic and Ciro Immobile score for the capital side.

TESTY

The Juve-Napoli match is tighter than the first leg scoreline suggests, as Napoli looked the better team in that game before mistakes led to spot kicks and cost them the match.

Jose Callejon put Napoli ahead with a clinical finish of their coordinated attack, but the hosts at Juventus Stadium dialed up the aggression at the restart and the pressure earned Dybala a trip to the spot following Kalidou Koulibaly’s foul.

Higuain, who had 104 appearances in three seasons with Napoli before his €90 million move to Juve this term, then put his new side ahead after Napoli keeper Reina misjudged the bounce of a headed ball and allowed his former teammate to slot the ball home.

Reina then compounded on his team’s misfortune as he brought down Juan Cuadrado, prompting the officials to point to the spot, where Dybala was again on point and gave a 3-1 aggregate lead to Juve.

HOME FIGHT

Juventus are 10 points ahead of Napoli in the Serie A table but their last two meetings indicate they are closer than that, that’s why bookmakers even have Napoli as a slight favorite in this return leg in the Coppa Italia.

Napoli also have a decent home record against the Old Lady, losing only once in their last eight home games against the Torino club while winning four times, including two in the last four home matches.

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