Tag Archives: Napoli

Juventus rises to Serie A summit as Napoli draws with Inter Milan

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Juventus rose to the top of Serie A after Napoli were forced to a goalless draw against Inter Milan at San Siro.

Forward Paulo Dybala, who scored in Juventus’s midweek win over Tottenham, curled home a superb first-half free kick before slotting in a second just after the break from Gonzalo Higuain’s ball.

However, Higuain also missed a penalty after Dybala had been fouled.

“After the drama of Wednesday night, there was a risk that we might have gone into this match too relaxed,” Dybala said. “Instead we showed character and experience to seal all three points.”

“I’m happy to have helped the team with my goals. We’re putting pressure on our rivals and we keep moving forwards. It all depends on us now.”

Previously, Napoli had led the table by a point on Sunday morning but were deposed when Juve defeated Udinese 2-0 in the afternoon, and after they missed out on three points from their evening trip to Milan that would have restored their status as front-runners for the Scudetto.

The Azzurri could even be as far as four points adrift of Juve should the Bianconeri make the most of their game in hand against Atalanta, which takes place in Turin on Wednesday night.

Nonetheless, Napoli had started well against Inter, and the Milan team found themselves packed into their own half until the half-hour mark, although Antonio Candreva managed to send a drive inches wide of Jose Reina’s post.

Things were more even after the restart, with Slovakian centre-back Skriniar headed against the Napoli bar as Lorenzo Insigne curling the ball just off target.

The latter was also unfortunate when trying and failing to net with a volleyed swipe of Dries Mertens’ clever assist, while mistake by Napoli allowed Mauro Icardi to snaffle the ball and take aim but Reina stood firm to collect.

Inter, however, missed out on a last opportunity to score in the 86th minute when Joao Cancelo swung a free-kick into a packed Napoli box. However, Reina punched clear with confidence and the points were shared.

Serie A: Juventus decimates Sassuolo as Napoli stays ahead with win

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Juventus thrashed Sassuolo in the Serie A by 7-0 even as Napoli maintained their one-point lead with a 2-0 win over Benevento.

Alex Sandro opened the scoring after nine minutes as Sassuolo failed to clear a corner and, and despite the visitor’s efforts to get back into the game their spell of possession ended with a Juventus breakaway which culminated with a corner that found Sami Khedira unmaked, allowing the German international freedom to slot in Juve’s second goal.

A clever pass from Miralem Pjanic a couple of minutes later saw Juventus add their third goal and a second for Sami Khedira as they sprung Sassuolo’s offside trap, before Pjanic himself made it 4-0 as he fired home from the edge of the area.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain joined the scorers as he made it five with a shot from the edge of the area at 63 minutes, and beat the offside trap to collect a long ball and rounded the keeper before sliding home with a little over 15 minutes remaining.

Higuain then grabbed his third to complete his hat-trick with eight minutes to go as he latched onto Bernardeschi’s fine pass and lifted the ball over the diving keeper from a narrow angle.

Earlier Benevento, Higuain’s former club Napoli started strongly and got their first goal in 20 minutes when Dries Mertens made a clever turn and chip the ball into the far corner.

The visitors continued to keep up the pressure as Lorenzo Insigne’s lob hitting the woodwork, and their effort bore fruit when Marek Hamsik tucked home from close range early in the second half.

The game also saw VAR came into play as Benevento were given a penalty for a foul in the box, but the Video Assistant Referee spotted an offside in the lead-up and changed the decision.

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.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti defends players amid winless run

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Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti has came to the defense of his players after Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Roma extended the Milan club’s winless run.

Roma led just past the half-hour mark at San Siro, Stephan El Shaarawy pouncing on a Davide Santon error after the full-back badly misjudged a long kick from goalkeeper Alisson.

It was thanks to Matias Vecino’s late header that Roma only snatched a point for slumping Inter, whose streak without a victory extended to six matches in Serie A.

The result also left Inter fourth and 11 points behind leaders Napoli, with Spalletti left defending Santon and the Nerazzurri.

“Santon doesn’t have to apologise to anyone. It’s easy when you’re sitting on your comfy sofa, quite another when running for 90 minutes alongside El Shaarawy,” Spalletti said.

“He’s a good lad, he trains well and mistakes can happen, especially on a ball that came that far. Nobody else helped him on that either, so it’s not as if he was alone. He has no reason to apologise.”

“The real issue here is that we are Inter and we must have the courage to fight it out with sides like Roma, Lazio and Napoli for a top-four finish. We have to take responsibility and make things happen. We can’t just wait for the train to go past and grab it. I won’t see us timorous or apologetic.”

“Samir Handanovic didn’t make the saves that Alisson did, so we played well. We made some errors in the quick passing and knew that Roma would be aggressive in their pressing game.”

“We practise these things in training, but if they don’t come off in a match situation, that will inevitably damage self-esteem. We have to work on what we are and what we do best, not losing the ball cheaply.”