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Jul 29, 2013

Juventus handed gruelling start

Juventus have been handed a tough start to the defence of their Serie A crown with a trip to Sampdoria on the opening day of the season followed by the visit of Lazio to the Juventus Stadium and a journey to Milan to face Inter.

Juventus won the 2012-13 Serie A title by nine points.
Juventus won the 2012-13 Serie A title by nine points.

Scudetto rivals Napoli get their campaign underway against Bologna, Fiorentina face Catania and AC Milan travel to the Stadio Bentegodi to meet promoted Hellas Verona.

Walter Mazzarri’s debut as Inter coach will come at home to Genoa, while the first Derby d’Italia between Juve and Inter will take place on the third weekend of the season at the San Siro.

The first city derby comes in the third round of matches with the Derby della Lanterna between Sampdoria and Genoa. A week later, it is the turn of the Eternal City derby between Roma and Lazio with all derby fixtures excluded from the three midweek dates in the season for security reasons.

Torino host Juventus in the Derby della Mole on September 29 with the Milan derby scheduled for matchdays 17 and 34, the first with Inter as hosts just prior to Christmas. The latest derby on the Serie A landscape between Hellas and Chievo will take place on November 24.

The Lega Calcio has also reacted to the anger of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who two years ago left the League Association’s headquarters on a moped in protest that his side was handed a tough fixture ahead of each of their Champions League encounters.

De Laurentiis was not present as the fixtures were announced this time as his club staged their official season opening with a friendly against Galatasaray on Monday night, but he will have been satisfied with the new rule which prevented any of the Champions League participants from meeting sides involved in the Europa League ahead of each round of European football.

The usual Serie A weekend will be unchanged from last season with two games on a Saturday, at 18:00 and 20:45, one early Sunday game at 12:30 and one late Sunday encounter at 20:45 with the remainder of the fixtures starting at the traditional 15:00 slot on a Sunday afternoon.

Exceptions will be made for clubs in action in the Champions League on a Tuesday, with the chance to bring their preceding weekend game forward to Friday, while the first two weekends of the season will be staged in the evening due to the expected high temperatures.

The season will commence with two games on August 24, a week after the Supercoppa between Lazio and Juve, and it will conclude on May 18.

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