Milan Aims to Defend Serie A Summit Against Juventus, While Napoli Faces Verona in the Ninth Round
Rome, October 20 – Milan is gearing up to defend its position at the top of the Serie A table as they host Juventus, one of their title rivals, this coming Sunday in the headline match of the ninth round of Italian football.
Milan currently leads the league standings with a two-point advantage over their city rivals, Inter, and a four-point lead over Juventus. The team is grappling with several key absences, either due to suspension or injury. Most notably, their French international goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, was sent off in their last game against Genoa just before the international break. Additionally, backup goalkeeper Marco Sportiello sustained an injury and will be sidelined for approximately a month. As a result, Milan’s coach, Stefano Pioli, appears compelled to field the veteran third-choice goalkeeper, Antonio Mirante (40 years old), who last started a game back in April 2021 when he was defending the colors of AS Roma. French international left-back Theo Hernandez is also unavailable for selection.
Napoli, last season’s champions, will be guests of Verona on Saturday in the opening fixture of the round. Napoli’s results have dipped since the start of the current season, and they currently occupy the fifth position, trailing Milan by a seven-point margin.
Napoli is dealing with the absence of their top scorer, Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen, who sustained an injury while representing the Nigerian national team. Additionally, Cameroonian midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa is unavailable, which will likely prompt their French coach, Rudi Garcia, to deploy Argentine forward Giovanni Simeone as a makeshift replacement for Osimhen.
In the other matches, Torino will face Inter on Sunday, while Sassuolo will lock horns with Lazio. The Sunday fixtures also include Roma taking on Montes, Bologna clashing with Frosinone, Salernitana challenging Cagliari, Atalanta squaring off against Genoa. The round will conclude on the following Monday with Udinese playing Lecce and Fiorentina meeting Empoli.