Napoli and Fiorentina will aim to secure a spot in the finals of this new format of the Supercoppa Italiana when they face off against each other tonight at Al-Awwal Stadium in Saudi Arabia. This is the first time in the competition history that four teams are participating for glory.
Napoli confirmed their berth in the quest for the Supercoppa Italiana by becoming the Serie A winners last season. The Partenopei have lifted the trophy only twice in their legacy as a club with their last win coming a decade back.
While Luciano Spalletti could steer the Neapolitans through a formidable campaign last term, they never looked like defending the Scudetto with sub-par performances since the start of this season. Walter Mazzarri’s appointment following Rudi Garcia’s sacking is yet to pay dividends as the side is currently sitting eighth in the league standings, 20 points short of leaders Inter.
Napoli’s winless run of four consecutive games, which included three defeats to Frosinone, Roma and Torino respectively, ended in their previous league outing against Salernitana. The game was on course for a 1-1 draw until Amir Rrahmani’s stoppage-time strike gave the hosts hope to turn the tide in the next matches.
Meanwhile, Fiorentina will be aiming to go all the way and clinch the Supercoppa Italiana title after ending up as runners-up in the Coppa Italia and the Conference League last season. Their finish in the cup earned them a place in tonight’s clash with the prospect of silverware in a long time for the club.
The Viola’s strong start to the new campaign have made them settle in the top four for now with a point clear of fifth-placed Atalanta. The defeat to Sassuolo earlier this month brought an unbeaten run of eight consecutive matches across all competitions to an end.
Vicenzo Italiano’s men progressed to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia after winning the quarter-final clash against Bologna in penalties. They were made to sweat in their previous outing which was in the Serie A as Fiorentina had to fight back twice through series from Lucas Beltran and M’Bala Nzola to share the points with Udinese.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
W L D L L
D W L W W
Napoli will be without the services of Victor Osimhen and Frank Aguissa for some time as they are on international duty at the AFCON.
Pierluigi Gollini will replace injured Alex Meret in between the sticks. Piotr Zielinski could start the match despite Inter’s advances of signing him. Jens Cajuste is expected to start in midfield.
As for Fiorentina, they are set to start Marco Faraoni after his assist in the last game. Dodo and Nico Gonzalez have resumed training but are not fit enough to start.
Lucas Beltran is set to start front.
Napoli (4-3-3): Gollini; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Rui; Cajuste, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Terracciano; Kayode, Milenkovic, Martinez Quarta, Biraghi; Duncan, Arthur; Sottil, Bonaventura, Ikone; Beltran
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN