The anticipation is building for Sunday night’s Serie A clash between Juventus and Napoli. With the two clubs trailing current league leaders Roma by three points, the title race is very much resembling a three-horse race.
The winner on Sunday would therefore take a big step forwards following the proverbial six-pointer, and Juve defender Bonucci is aware of the game’s significance.
“It’s imperative that we win,” he said on his official website. “It would be a win in our own splendid stadium and therefore in front of our fantastic fans. I imagine it will be a great game.”
Both sides were in Champions League action during the week, and picked up positive results. Juve’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid means they have their destiny in their own hands, while Napoli can reach the knockout stages with a game to spare by drawing at Borussia Dortmund next time out.
However, Sunday night is about Serie A, and Bonucci added:
“I’m expecting it to be a final on Sunday between us and Napoli. May the best team win.”
Napoli will be hoping for a similar result to that of 27 years ago, when they picked up a 3-1 win against Juve at the Stadio Comunale in November 1986 on the way to their first Scudetto.
In that game, Diego Maradona got the upper hand over the defending champions — a team that included the likes of Michel Platini and Antonio Cabrinim.
And Partenopei defender Fernandez believes a similar outcome on Sunday would fuel belief in the squad that another title success is possible this season.
“Napoli have shown that we can compete with anybody,” Fernandez told Radio Kiss Kiss. “This faith has been given to us by [coach Rafael] Benitez. We go to Turin with this belief.”
While Platini and Maradona were the stars 27 years ago, all eyes will be on Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain this weekend.
“Gonzalo’s a true champion,” Fernandez said. “We can be relaxed with him around because we know that he can turn any ball into the box into a goal. We work hard at the back and are aware that we have some really strong strikers up front and that, sooner or later, we’ll get a goal.
“I’m delighted to have Gonzalo on my side. It’s going to be a game between two sides with plenty of big players. Napoli and Juve are fighting for top spot and it’s nice to be able to compete at such levels. This is a test for us to see if we can remain involved and to understand our value.”