5. Juventus Not That Dominant
Juventus did not seem like the team that won four straight Serie A titles. In fact, they looked weak and unsure on the ball. After Khedira scored in the sixth minute, Allegri made the questionable decision to sit back and defend, and it cost the Bianconeri the win.
Napoli dominated the match, outshooting Juventus 17-4 throughout the entirety of the match. They’ll need to play better if they wish to have a chance at beating Barcelona.
4. Never Doubt Mertens
Mertens was the best player on the pitch, and he was instrumental in Napoli’s success. He provided a lovely through ball to Hamsik who buried the equalizer, and he came close to the decider a couple of times, including one miraculous run where his shot hit the post, denying the Partenopei a vital three points.
The Belgian has proven that he is always a force to be reckoned with, and opponents need to be especially wary when playing a player of his caliber. He is one of the best players in the league, and he has adjusted especially well to his new position as a striker.
3. Reina Was Missed
Starting goalkeeper Pepe Reina was unable to recover from his injury, and Napoli were forced to start Rafael in his place. There wasn’t much Rafael could do, but he did conceded on the first shot of the match, and fans will be left to wonder if Reina, one of the best keepers in the league, could have done anything differently.
Fortunately for Napoli, the Spaniard should be back for the second leg of the Coppa Italia match against Juventus. It’ll be hard to recover from a 3-1 deficit, but they have the offensive firepower to do it.
2. Napoli Unlucky
Napoli wholeheartedly deserved the win after outshooting Juventus 17-4 and retaining possession 56% of the time. They came dreadfully close, Mertens’s effort clanking off the woodwork in the second half, but they were unable to convert when it mattered most, and it ultimately cost them the game.
It wasn’t all bad for Napoli. They proved that they can compete with anyone when they are in form, and they sent a message to Juventus and the rest of the league with a wonderful display of football. They’ll look to play just as well in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal against Juventus later this week.
1. Roma Should Worry
Roma eased past Empoli 2-0 to extend their lead over Napoli to four points, but Napoli are definitely not out of the race. Roma arguably have a harder schedule ahead of them, including a tough stretch where they’ll face Atalanta, Milan, Lazio, and Juventus within a span of five games.
Considering how well the Partenopei played against Juventus and their easier schedule, Roma will need to play well and get the full three points from their future matches if they wish to stay ahead in the race for second place.
Napoli XI: Rafael 6; Hysaj 6, Albiol 5.5, Koulibaly 6.5, Strinic 6.5 (Ghoulam 79′, 6); Allan 5.5 (Zielinski 69′, 6), Jorginho 5.5, Hamsik 6.5 (Rog 76′, 6); Callejon 5.5 , Mertens 7, Insigne 6
Unused Subs: Reina, Sepe, Maksimovic, Maggio, Chiriches, Diawara, Giaccherini, Pavoletti, Milik
Juventus XI: Buffon 6; Lichtsteiner 5.5, Bonucci 6, Chiellini 6, Asamoah 5; Marchisio 6.5 (Dybala 80′, 5.5), Khedira 6.5; Lemina 5 (Cuadrado 61′, 5.5), Pjanic 6 (Rincon 87′, 6), Mandzukic 5.5; Higuain 6
Unused Subs: Audero, Neto, Rugani, Alves, Alex Sandro, Barzagli, Sturaro, Mandragora
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Other Serie A Results Today:
Torino 2-2 Udinese
Chievo 1-2 Crotone
Fiorentina 1-0 Bologna
Palermo 1-3 Cagliari
Genoa 0-5 Atalanta
Pescara 1-1 Milan
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