Tag Archives: Bologna

Serie A: Napoli concedes early but wins to stay on top of table

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Dries Mertens scored twice as Napoli beat Bologna 3-1 to reclaim top spot in the Serie A table from reigning champions Juventus.

Napoli needed a quick response as Juventus had managed to overtake them the day before, but things did not go according to plan when former Inter Milan striker Rodrigo Palacio gave Bologna a first-minute lead instead.

However, Napoli did not have their work cut out for them as Bologna defender Ibrahima Mbaye soon obliged with the equaliser as he put through his own net in comedy fashion just four minutes later.

Adam Masina then helped Napoli further by fouling Jose Callejon to concede a penalty that Mertens tucked away eight minutes before the break and just before the hour, the Belgian winger turned home an assist from Lorenzo Insigne.

The result meant that Napoli remains just one point above Juventus, who returned to second place with a 2-0 win against a Chievo team who were reduced to nine men.

They saw the dismissal of Samuel Bastien, who was given marching orders early in the 37th minute for a second bookable but unnecessary offence, and then lost Fabrizio Cacciatore too after 60 minutes when he vehemently complained he’d been fouled while heading at Wojciech Szczesny.

His bizarre protests, which included standing on the touchline with his hands behind his back in an apparent ‘handcuff’ gesture, earned the striker a straight red card.

The clear advantage in numbers meant that Chievo, who had been able to frustrate the visitors up until then finally conceded when Sami Khedira struck in the 67th minute, before Gonzalo Higuaín headed in a second with two minutes remaining.

Napoli demolishes Bologna to keep Serie A hopes alive

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Napoli demolishes Bologna to keep Serie A hopes alive

As their first title hopes in two decades begin to win, Napoli upped and overcompensated in the Serie A, routing Bologna by 6-0.

With a 9-point difference between second-placed Napoli and first placed Juventus, the Old Lady of Turin could have won a fifth straight domestic title if Napoli were defeated. And so, Napoli lives to fight another day as they trimmed the gap to six, for 24 hours at least.

But Dries Mertens and Manolo Gabbiadini kept the competition going as the former scores a hat-trick while the latter took a brace in the demolition. David Lopez rounded of by netting a lucky one by the end of the game.

Gabbiadini fired home from the centre of the box from Mertens’s pass after just 10 minutes. He doubled Napoli’s advantage form the penalty spot 10 minutes before the break after Kevin Constant had brought down Jose Callejon.

Any chance of a Bologna comeback was snuffed out just before the hour mark when Marek Hamsik teed up Mertens to fire home from the left side of the box.

Omar El Kaddouri teed up Mertens for his second and the Belgian scored his hat-trick two minutes from the end with a rasping drive into the top corner form outside the box.

Lopez had set up Mertens for his third and the Belgian winger returned the favour in the final minute.

Given that the last 3 goals were let in within the space of the last 10 minutes of the game, Bologna boss Roberto Donadoni claimed accountability for the embarrassment.

“We played terribly, I’m the first one who’s responsible. I apologise to the fans and now I want the reaction of men,” he said.

It is even more impressive when considering the fact that Napoli’s top scorer Gonzalo Higuain was still absent as he sits out the last of his three-game ban. So far, Gabbiadini had proved himself a competent replacement for the Argentine while Mertens handled himself just as well in the match.

The win also puts Napoli eight points clear of third-placed Roma, who in turn will be playing Torino mid-week before a cruncher against Napoli next Monday. But it is clear there will be a fight for the second spot and the two teams will not relent easily, since the winner would acquire automatic qualification to the Champions League.

Goalless draw against Bologna ends Juventus winning run

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Goalless draw against Bologna ends Juventus winning run

Serie A league leaders Juventus misses a chance to get clear at the top as they were held to a goalless draw away against Bologna at the Renato Dall’Ara.

All in all, the match was one of Juventus squandering their chances at goal, with Paul Pogba wasting two good chances after the break while Bologna, coached by AC Milan legend Roberto Donadoni had only one shot on target.

Juve leading scorer Paulo Dybala was rested for the match, but was brought in after 68 minutes of play and to no avail.

It also meant that their brilliant form of 15 consecutive league wins is halted, and at the same time would give second-placed Napoli – having a game in hand – a chance to overtake them.

However, beyond the threat of Napoli Juventus has a lot less to fear – third placed Fiorentina just took a scrappy 3-2 win against 10-man Atalanta and is 6 points behind.

The defending Serie A champions would also be hosting Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich mid-week in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Fixture.