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Napoli on cusp of third Scudetto as Serie A reschedule possible title clincher

Serie A leaders Napoli could seal their third Scudetto this weekend if they beat lowly visitors Salernitana and second-placed Lazio drop points at Inter Milan.

Soccer Football - Previews ahead of Napoli v Salernitana where Napoli can potentially win Serie A - Naples, Italy - April 27, 2023 A Scudetto painted on a stairway in historical centre, ahead of potentially winning Serie A REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli could seal their third Scudetto in record fashion this weekend if they beat lowly visitors Salernitana and second-placed Lazio drop points at Inter Milan.

Victory this weekend would move Luciano Spalletti’s side to 81 points and they will become the first team to win the title with six matches remaining unless Lazio earn their first win away to Inter in more than four years on Sunday.

After days of meetings and negotiations, Serie A decided to move the Napoli game from Saturday to Sunday and the home clash against Salernitana will now take place on Sunday at 3:00 p.m (local time) ensuring that the potential title celebrations run into the national holiday on 1 May rather than over an entire holiday weekend.

Spalletti cautious

Coach Spalletti urged his Napoli players not to get ahead of themselves despite being tantalisingly close to ending the city’s 33-year wait for the Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the team to two championships in 1987 and 1990.

“I don’t like to celebrate in advance,” he said. “If we all do it together there will be twice as much joy.”

It would be unthinkable for Napoli to blow their 17-point lead at this stage but Spalletti’s caution is understandable given a tough April in which his team managed two wins in six games in all competitions.

Napoli's head coach Luciano Spalletti
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Napoli's head coach Luciano Spalletti CIRO FUSCOEFE

With no other silverware to play for after Napoli were knocked out of the Champions League by AC Milan in the quarter-finals this month, Spalletti can focus on landing the domestic crown, though he will be without injured defender Mario Rui.

Salernitana have improved dramatically since Paulo Sousa took over from Davide Nicola in mid-February and have pulled well clear of the relegation scrap. They are up to 14th in the table after an eight-game unbeaten run.

Calles de Nápoles engalanadas para el Scudetto.
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Nápoles se prepara para la fiesta. El equipo de la ciudad será campeón el sábado si gana su partido y el Inter hace lo mismo ante el Lazio.CIRO DE LUCAREUTERS

Napoli fans told not to take title party onto Vesuvius

Park authorities became concerned at reports that Napoli’s fanatical fans planned to set off flares to light up Vesuvius in the Italian national colours should the team clinch the title on Sunday, branding the stunt dangerous.

“We are all pleased for Napoli’s success which will bring honour to our region and great joy for people,” said Vesuvius park commissioner Raffaele De Luca. “But the celebrations must remain within the limits of civil behaviour,” he added.