ROME (AP) — It's 1 vs. 2 in Serie A on Friday when Roma attempts to extend its seven-match winning streak against a Napoli squad that's only blemish is one draw.
The match at the Stadio Olimpico was moved up a day to avoid clashing with a planned protest against a high-speed rail line in northern Italy. Juventus, which is level with Napoli two points behind Roma, visits sixth-place Fiorentina on Sunday in a heated rivalry. Also, Inter Milan visits Torino in its first match since an announced takeover by Indonesians.
Here are five things to know about the eighth round of the Italian league:
RUDI VS. RAFA
It's not just the first positions in the table that Roma coach Rudi Garcia and Napoli manager Rafa Benitez share.
Both are foreign tacticians in their first seasons with their clubs. And about a decade ago when Garcia was still learning the profession, he spent a few days observing Benitez at Valencia.
Benitez, who led Valencia to Spanish league titles in 2002 and '04 and also won the 2004 UEFA Cup, gave Garcia a warm welcome and explained his coaching techniques in a lengthy discussion in Spanish.
Garcia is a Frenchman but has Spanish roots. The pair have remained friendly and their coaching styles are similar.
Roma has scored 20 goals and conceded one.
The contribution of 37-year-old Roma captain Francesco Totti in attack has been widely recognized but goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis is crying out for more credit.
"I don't understand why they say I concede few goals only because few shots come my way. When (Gianluigi) Buffon, (Manuel) Neuer and Petr Cech don't concede goals they're called great goalkeepers but me, no."
He has a point. When Napoli finished second last season with De Sanctis in goal, it allowed 36 goals, second-best behind champion Juventus' 24.
There are now two Serie A clubs with foreign ownership.
Indonesian entrepreneur Erick Thohir and two associates signed a deal to take over a majority stake of Inter on Tuesday. Two years ago, Roma was taken over by a group of Boston executives.
The deal for a 70 percent stake in Inter reportedly cost 250 million euros ($340 million).
While the future of Massimo Moratti, Inter's president, remains unclear, the latest reports have him becoming honorary president.
The 43-year-old Thohir is part owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and D.C. United. He is chairman of the Mahaka Group, which has business interests in media and entertainment.
OPEN OR CLOSED?
Ten days ago, the Serie A judge ordered the San Siro stadium closed for AC Milan's match against Udinese as punishment for insulting chants by the club's fans during a match at Juventus.
Then, after several days of outrage by fans and clubs up and down Italy, the league decided to suspend its decision.
At issue are territorial chants, in which fans use slogans that insult the opposing club's city or geographical area, often in graphic terms.
Territorial chants have been a staple at Italian stadiums for decades and the football community was not happy that they were being dealt with the same sanctions used for racist chants. Several teams have had portions of their stadiums closed for racist chants this season.
Cagliari has received permission to play its first home match in 1½ years.
The Sardinian club's Sant'Elia stadium had been closed due to safety concerns, prompting the team to play home games in Trieste, Parma and the nearby Sardinian town of Quartu over the past two seasons.
Now, safety officials say that renovations allow for part of the stadium — nearly 5,000 of 21,500 seats — to be opened for Saturday's match against Catania.
The reopening comes after Cagliari captain Daniele Conti threatened a players' strike over the forced exodus.
Last season, Cagliari president Massimo Cellino was arrested in an investigation over the hastily constructed Is Arenas stadium in Quartu. When Cellino was released, he initially refused to leave his prison cell, protesting that he was innocent and that he would only leave "as a free man."
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