Juventus kick off title defence at Sampdoria

AC Milan to visit Hellas Verona as Italian Serie A fixtures announced.

Reuters July 30, 2013
Promoted Sassuolo will play their first ever top-flight match away at Torino. PHOTO: FILE


Italian champions Juventus will kick off their bid for a third successive Serie A title with a trip to Sampdoria, following the announcement of next season’s fixtures in a ceremony in Milan.

Title hopefuls AC Milan visit Hellas Verona, playing their first match back in the top flight in 11 years, while Walter Mazzarri’s Inter Milan and Rafael Benitez’s Napoli both begin with home matches against Genoa and Bologna respectively.

Promoted Sassuolo will play their first ever top-flight match away at Torino.

AS Roma, who start their campaign with a trip to rivals Livorno, will play their first home game of the season against Hellas Verona with the Curva Sud section of their stadium closed.

The club were handed the punishment after hardcore fans in that part of the Stadio Olimpico racially abused AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli during their last game of the season against Napoli.

Serie A will host five city derbies for the first time this season. The Rome derby between Roma and Lazio will take place in week four, the same week Milan host fellow title hopefuls Napoli.

Last season’s runners-up will field a restructured squad under Benitez following the sale of striker Edinson Cavani to Paris St Germain.

The Champions League-winning coach has recruited Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol from Real Madrid as well as goalkeeper Pepe Reina from Liverpool.

Other standout fixtures include Juve’s trip to Inter in week three, while the champions host AC Milan in week seven and Napoli in week 12.

In late November, Hellas Verona will host neighbours Chievo in their first derby in 11 years and their third ever meeting.

Chievo have spent 11 of the last 12 years in Serie A, while Hellas, who were traditionally the bigger team, floundered in the lower leagues and suffered financial problems.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.

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