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AS Roma 0-1 Napoli: Insigne the match-winner as league leaders extend Serie A advantage

Daniel Orme in Editorial, Serie A 14 Oct 2017

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Napoli extended their lead at the top of the Serie A table on Saturday night as they overcame AS Roma 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne netted the only goal of the game and as a result took his team five points clear of reigning champions Juventus following the Bianconeri’s 2-1 loss to Lazio earlier in the day. The Partenopei have now earned eight victories in as many league games this season to continue their perfect start.

Integral Insigne

Dries Mertens, who had notched seven Serie A goals in as many games to date, was the first to have his say on proceedings for the Naples outfit. Initially firing a shot over the bar from on the edge of the area, the Belgian forward then tested Alisson Becker from distance. His low shot however was well-saved by the stopper as it looked destined for the bottom corner. The former PSV man then had another effort stopped as he combined with Lorenzo Insigne.

It was the latter though who would open the scoring for in-form Napoli. The Italian collected a lose ball in the Roma penalty area following a mistake from captain Daniele De Rossi and fired low beyond Becker to notch his fifth goal in all competitions.

Partenopei push Giallorossi

Eusebio Di Francesco’s men were almost immediately back in the contest however but Edin Džeko headed wide from Bruno Peres’ cross. It was indeed the table-topping visitors though who were enjoying the better chances in front of goal. First, Insigne had a shot blocked before Marek Hamšík had a good chance to head home but his effort lacked the desired power.

Insigne then had the opportunity to double his night’s work but headed straight at the goalkeeper from the centre of the penalty area. The two sides headed into half-time soon after with Napoli looking by far the stronger out of the two and deserving of their advantage.

Napoli look to double lead

Following the interval, the visitors continued to exert considerable pressure. Mertens and Hamšík both took turns but just shot wide and straight at Becker respectively. Roma’s evening began to worsen as defender Kostas Manolas and had to be replaced by ex-Tottenham Hotpsur man Federico Fazio.

José Callejón then attempted to fire home from inside the area but his shot was quickly charged down. Winger Alessandro Florenzi also tried from outside of the area for the home side but his effort was deflected away by a Napoli body.

Flurry of substitutions for Serie A leaders

Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri then attempted to consolidate his team’s lead as he made numerous changes. Skipper Hamšík and Jorginho were replaced by Piotr Zieliński and Amadou Diawara. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Alessandro Florenzi were taken off in place of Gerson and Cengiz Ünder.

Roma continued to probe for openings and they could even have drawn level extremely late in the game. Former Manchester City man Aleksander Kolarov crossed in from a corner and the ball found the head of striker Džeko. The Bosnian though thundered his header off the bar and Napoli were able to clear.

The hosts continued to push in the closing stages but Napoli continued to defend stoutly to notch a well-earned three points.

Final Thoughts

On the night at the Stadio Olimpico, Napoli were by-far the better side and frustrated their hosts for large swaths of the game. Their attacking instincts were far better and they eventually capitalised on a terrible mistake from the home side.

As a result, they now sit five points clear at the top of the Serie A table ahead of their clash with Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. Elsewhere, Roma remain fifth having lost their second league game of the 2017/18 campaign. They next tussle with Premier League champions Chelsea in their next match.

Match Report

Roma: Becker (6); Peres (6), Manolas (6) (Fazio (5), 59′), Jesus (5), Kolarov (6); De Rossi (5), Pellegrini (5) (Gerson (5), 78′); Florenzi (6) (Ünder (6), 71′), Nainggolan (6), Perotti (6); Džeko (6).

Napoli: Reina (6); Hysaj (6), Albiol (7), Koulibaly (7), Ghoulam (7); Allan (6), Jorginho (7) (Diawara (6), 73′), Hamšík (7) (Zieliński (6), 71′); Callejón (7) (Rog (5), 82′), Insigne (8), Mertens (8).

Goals: Insigne (20′)

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi

Yellow Cards: Jorginho (43′), De Rossi (53′), Fazio (79′), Ghoulam (90′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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