Allegri eyes 1st title in charge of Juventus
Dec. 21, 2014
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Massimiliano Allegri has a shot at his first title with Juventus when it faces Napoli in Monday's rearranged Italian Supercup.
Allegri, who was fired from AC Milan in January, replaced Antonio Conte in the summer and has enjoyed a positive start at Juventus, which heads into the winter break three points clear at the top of Serie A.
"This is our last game of the year and our third target for the campaign after qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League and remaining top of the Serie A table," Allegri said.
Allegri steered AC Milan to victory in 2011 in the traditional season opener between the Serie A champions and the Italian Cup winners.
This will be the seventh time that the Supercup has been played abroad. It was held in Washington, D.C., in 1993, in Tripoli, Libya in 2002, New Jersey in 2003 and Beijing on three occasions — 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Here are some things to know about the Italian Supercup:
BENITEZ UP FOR THE CUP
Napoli may be considered underdogs against a formidable Juventus team seemingly on the march to a fourth successive Serie A title, but coach Rafa Benitez has a great record in cup competition.
Benitez steered Valencia to the UEFA Cup, guided Liverpool to the FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup as well as the Champions League, and also won the Europa League at Chelsea.
Even during his short time at Inter Milan, Benitez lifted the Italian Supercup as well as the Club World Cup
"Napoli are among the top 10 European teams when it's a one-off game, which they have already proved in the Champions League last year," Juventus captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said. "They bring the best out of themselves in these situations.
"We have great respect and the right amount of concern, but want to impose our play on the game and attack from the start."
Juventus, which has won the past two Supercups, has a superb record of its own in the competition.
It currently holds the joint record number of victories and would move clear of AC Milan with a seventh win on Monday.
Napoli has only won it once, in 1990, when it stunned Juventus with a 5-1 triumph.
Napoli will be keen to avoid a repeat of the controversy which overshadowed Juventus' 4-2 victory when the two sides met in the competition two years ago.
The match swung Juventus' way when Napoli had Goran Pandev and Juan Zuniga sent off in the last five minutes of regular time.
Napoli's coach at the time, Walter Mazzarri, and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis were also dismissed for their protests and the club was so enraged that it boycotted the trophy presentation.