Friday, August 17, 2018

Lazio 1 – 4 Napoli: Three Things We Learned During Napoli’s Impressive Comeback Win

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, Serie A 20 Sep 2017

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Lazio hosted Napoli this Wednesday and while the hosts got off to a better start, Napoli ended dominating the match in the second half. The visitors dominated the game, and scored four times in the final 45 minutes to secure a massive 4-1 win away from hone.

Here are three things we learned from this intense contest at Stadio Olimpico.

Napoli’s Furious Comeback In The Second Half

Napoli were losing 0-1 at half time, and they did not look very good during the first half. However, they only needed six minutes to turn things around during the second half. And Napoli shifted the momentum of the game for good thanks to an impressive scoring barrage in the second 45 minutes.

Kalidou Koulibaly equalised the game in the 54th minute with a shot from close range following a rebound on Thomas Strakosha. Jose Callejon added another one for Napoli two minutes later when he placed the ball into the far post after an assist from Marek Hamsik. And Dries Mertens made it 3-1 in the 59th minute after the Belgian star scored one of the most beautiful goals of the current season. After Strakosha deflected the ball towards the left side of the box, Mertens lobbed into the goal from an impossible angle and over Strakosha.

To make things easier, we will recap everything. Napoli were down 0-1 in the 53rd minute, but jumped to a 3-1 advantage six minutes later. That was a lead they would never relinquish, and in fact they added one more goal on stoppage time when Jorginho converted a penalty. Napoli ended cruising their way to a massive 4-1 win on the road.

Ciro Immobile Remains On Top Form

The 27-year-old striker repeated last season’s formula. Once again he is on top form, and has established himself as one of the best forwards in the entire Serie A. In fact, he is easily one of the Top 10 forwards in all of Europe right now. And he showed it once again in this match, because he was quite a threat during the entire game even if Lazio ended losing by a huge margin.

If we look at his individual stats for this match, there is nothing that really stands out about his performance. Immobile finished the game with no shots on target, only one key pass, and one created chance. But the one he created ended in Stefan de Vrij’s goal, after making a push on the right side of the box and leaving three opposing players behind. Players like Immobile do not tend to make plays like that one, and it’s the best proof to show just how high his confidence is at the moment.

Immobile has six goals and two assists during the current season. He did not help Lazio in this match, but remains a key player on the squad based on his current form.

Both Teams Established Their Status In This Match

Prior to the start of the season, Napoli were considered one of the top teams in the Serie A. And Lazio were among the teams that could fight for either a Champions League, or a Europa League berth. And we take this game as a reference for what they can do during the campaign, then it’s safe to say both reaffirmed their status.

Lazio were not able to show they are ready to take the next step. Players like Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic showed good efforts, but that was not enough. And if we consider how improved Inter Milan and AC Milan look this season, it seems Lazio are not ready to mount a title challenge yet. They are clearly not on the same level as AS Roma, Juventus, or Napoli yet.

On the other hand, Napoli showed resiliency and the ability to turn things around when everything gets tough. It is complicated to turn a game around playing on the road, and especially doing it at Stadio Olimpico. But that is exactly what they did thanks to an impressive performance on both ends of the pitch. The defence looked sharper as the game went on, and the attacking trio of Mertens, Callejon, and Lorenzo Insigne once again looked lively and accurate. Based on what we have seen thus far, there is no question Napoli have all the makings of being a title contender once again.

Match Report

Lazio: Strakosha (5); Bastos (5) (Marusic (6), 25′), de Vrij (6) (Murgia (5), 46′), Radu (4); Basta (6), Parolo (4), Lucas Leiva (5), Lulic (6); Luis Alberto (6), Milinkovic-Savic (7) (Lukaku (5), 63′); Immobile 6)

Napoli: Pepe Reina (6); Maggio (5), Albiol (6), Koulibaly (7), Ghoulam (6); Allan (6), Jorginho (7), Hamsik (7) (Zielinski (-), 73′); Callejon (7) (Rog (-), 86′), Mertens (8) (Milik (-), 81′), Insigne (7)

Goals: de Vrij (1-0, 29′), Koulibaly (1-1, 54′), Callejon (2-1, 56′), Mertens (3-1, 59′), Jorginho (4-1, 90+2′)

Referee: Antonio Damato

Yellow Cards: Radu (21′), Mertens (25′), Pepe Reina (34′), Jorginho (70′), Lucas Leiva (79′)


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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