ITALIAN SERIE A

Sant'Elia, Italy

Attendance: 15000

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Napoli

  • Marek Hamsik 72'

Cagliari v Napoli: Preview

Serie A encounters between Napoli and Cagliari may be wildly unpredictable affairs, but Azzurri defender Paolo Cannavaro feels his side have found some much needed stability.

Napoli emerged 6-3 victors from an incredible game at the San Paolo when these sides last met in March, while back in December 2009, Mariano Bogliacino left it late to salvage a 3-3 draw at Cagliari's former home in another typically topsy-turvy clash.

Napoli have fallen five points shy of leaders Juventus but Cannavaro feels the omens are good for a renewed title push after Edinson Cavani's late penalty sealed a 2-1 win over AIK Solna and progression to the last 32 of the Europa League this week.

Having picked up three yellow cards, Cavani is suspended for the Azzurri's first-ever trip to the Stadio Is Arenas but Cannavaro remains confident.

He told Gazzetta.it: ``The Scudetto is not impossible, it remains an achievable target. If there is anyone who is doing better than us then that is not our fault.

``We have reached an important goal in terms of getting through to the knockout stages of the Europa League and we are going well in the championship.

``That does not mean, however, that we can expect to win every game easily. A good start set us on our way but we can still improve.

``We are getting more and more confident but we can always improve.

``It will be a feisty atmosphere in Cagliari. We have a great rivalry and they have been doing really well since they changed the coach.

``We hope the absence of Cavani doesn't hurt us and (Andrea) Cossu and (Marco) Sau are their biggest threats.''

Cagliari confirmed the progress made since Ivo Pulga replaced Massimo Ficcadenti as head coach with a commendable 2-2 draw at Inter Milan last weekend. Only a late Davide Astori own goal denied the Rossoblu all three points in Milan.

Pulga revealed to La Repubblica that Cavani's absence offers precious little comfort, saying: ``The alternatives are of a very high quality.

``Tactically they play in a similar way to us, but it won't be an easy task.

``The game with Napoli will be more complex than the Inter game because Napoli are more aggressive.

``We go into the game as underdogs and we will need a great performance to take a positive result away.''

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