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Serie A champion Napoli to kick off title defence

MILAN (AP) – Serie A champion Napoli will kick off its title defence at newly-promoted Frosinone.

That will mark Rudi Garcia’s first match as Napoli coach after he replaced Luciano Spalletti at the end of last season.

The upcoming Serie A schedule was announced yesterday.

Runner-up Lazio visits Lecce on the opening weekend, while Inter Milan hosts Monza and AC Milan visits Bologna. Juventus also plays at Udinese.

The season starts the weekend of August 19 and the final day will be on May 26. In a break with tradition there will be no pause over the holiday period, with matches played on December 23 and 30.

There will also be only one midweek round, on September 27, and four international breaks.

The first matches between the top teams come in the third round when Napoli hosts Lazio and AC Milan visits Roma. That weekend also sees Inter host fierce rival Fiorentina. The first derby match between the Milan teams takes place the following weekend, September 17, with Lazio also encountering back-to-back difficult matches as it visits Juventus.

The first Rome derby – between Roma and Lazio – will be the weekend of November 12.

The final round sees Napoli host Lecce, Lazio at home to Sassuolo, Inter at Hellas Verona, Milan playing Salernitana and Juventus |against Monza.

Rudi Garcia, new head coach of SSC Napoli and the club’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis during a press conference in Castelvolturno near Naples, Italy. PHOTO: AP