Napoli and Fiorentina will lock horns at the Stadio San Paolo for their last-16 showdown in the Coppa Italia on Thursday evening.
The Partenopei – who were eliminated by Atalanta at the semi-final stage last season – are preparing for their first game in this year’s competition, while La Viola have already beaten Serie B sides Cosenza and Benevento in rounds one and two to reach this stage.
Napoli ended a run of three successive home defeats with a slender 1-0 Serie A victory against Sampdoria on Sunday.
Andrea Petagna, starting just his second league game of the season, scored with an acrobatic effort on the stroke of half time to seal all three points for the Partenopei, who are now sitting six points behind league leaders Inter Milan having played a game more.
After a bright start to the campaign, Luciano Spalletti’s men have since endured an inconsistent run of form over the past two and a half months, winning and losing five matches each as well as drawing three times across all competitions.
With a crucial Serie A encounter against Inter and a Europa League playoff against Barcelona to come next month, Napoli will be keen to build positive momentum heading into a defining period in their campaign.
The Partenopei have enjoyed plenty of success in the Coppa Italia over the last 10 years, winning the competition three times – in 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2019-20 – as well as reaching the semi-final stage on five occasions.
Napoli will be aware of the threat Thursday’s opponents Fiorentina will pose, but they should be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals as they have beaten La Viola in each of their last three meetings by an aggregate score of 10-1.
After a slightly underwhelming end to 2021, with back-to-back draws against Sassuolo and Hellas Verona, Fiorentina began 2022 in the worst possible manner as they were thrashed 4-0 away against Torino on Sunday.
The hosts raced into a three-goal lead just after the half-hour mark thanks to strikes from Josip Brekalo (2) and Wilfried Singo, before Antonio Sanabria found the net midway through the second half to condemn La Viola to their heaviest league defeat since losing 6-0 to Thursday’s opponents Napoli back in January last year.
Vincenzo Italiano’s men will be keen to bounce back with a victory in Serie A, as they aim to close in on the European places, but they must first turn their attention to the Coppa Italia, a trophy which has eluded them over the past two decades.
La Viola’s triumph in 2000-01 remains the last time they had their hands clasped around the Coppa Italia trophy, and since then they have only reached the final once in 2013-14, losing out to none other than Napoli.
If they are to reach the latter stages of this year’s competition, they must get past a Partenopei outfit who they have only beaten twice in their last 17 meetings across all tournaments.
Italiano will be hoping his side have learned from October’s 2-1 loss at home to Napoli – a game in which they were leading and had more possession throughout the 90 minutes, but came away empty-handed.
Napoli form (all competitions):
Fiorentina Coppa Italia form:
Fiorentina form (all competitions):
We say: Napoli 3-2 Fiorentina
An entertaining contest with plenty of goalmouth action between two attack-minded teams could be on the cards at the Stadio San Paolo.
After such a heavy defeat at the weekend, a response from Fiorentina is expected on Thursday as they aim to return to winning ways; however, the hosts may just do enough to advance to the quarter-finals.