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Comeback kings Napoli stun Juventus

Napoli fought back from a two-goal deficit for the second time in three days to shock Juventus 3-2 in Turin on Saturday and prevent Ciro Ferrara’s team from closing the gap to leaders Inter Milan.

Having scored two injury-time goals to earn a 2-2 draw at home to AC Milan on Wednesday, Napoli produced another dramatic and ultimately even more successful comeback.

Marek Hansik scored a brace while substitute Jesus Datolo scored one and created one as Napoli moved up to fifth in the table while second-placed Juve remain four points behind Inter.

Although Juve enjoyed a lot of possession, early on all the best chances fell to Napoli.

And it was German Denis, the substitute hero on Wednesday with a goal deep into injury time and rewarded with a start in Turin, who quickly turned to villain for the southerners.

He had two early chances to put Napoli ahead but headed the first wide from Ezequiel Lavezzi’s cross and then failed to make contact with Cristian Maggio’s centre from close range.

On 20min Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made a fingertip save to divert a dipping Salvatore Aronica shot over the bar and from the resulting corner Denis was afforded a free header from eight yards but put it wide.

Incredibly moments later, Denis’s nightmare continued as he headed wide again from another corner but this time from even closer.

Finally Juve started to exert some pressure themselves and Felipe Melo shot inches wide after Diego teed him up.

The hosts then took the lead out of the blue as Zoltan Grygera cut in from the right onto his left foot and sent a delightful inswinging cross for veteran French forward David Trezeguet, who made an expert run across the line and headed home as centre-back Hugo Campagnaro was guilty of ball-watching.

Juve doubled their lead on 54min after more poor defending from Napoli as Matteo Contini inexplicably headed a Trezeguet cross down to Sebastien Giovinco, unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, who gratefully accepted the gift.

Napoli did not let their heads drop, though, and were quickly back in the game as Hamsik rifled home at the back post from Datolo’s cross on 59min.

And Datolo it was who equalised five minutes later as Denis won another header at a corner – finally directing one on target – with Buffon palming the ball away and Datolo sweeping home the rebound.

It was an end to end game but the winner came from a lightning counter attack with Lavezzi running at the heart of Juve’s back-pedalling defence and feeding the overlapping Datolo out on the left and after Tiago failed to clear his cross, Hamsik followed up to fire high into the top corner from 12 yards.

Juve substitute Amauri was then harshly sent-off in injury time for a challenge on Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.

Sat 31 October, 2009
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