An exciting battle occurred in San Paolo on Tuesday night as Napoli played Juventus in the re-arranged Serie A match which was previously postponed due to flood issue. B
oth teams were fighting hard but the home team must be feeling bitter as they wasted two lead and was forced to walk home with only a point as the league leader showed courageous fighting spirit.
Playing in front of their fans, Napoli were keen in making an impressive start but the absence of Edinson Cavani is really felt especially in terms of the attacking flow which lacking a bit without the Uruguayan. Juventus, who are in a confident mood, smartly try to take control of the ball possession knowing that the home team are playing more of a counter attacking football rather than building a midfield domination play.
However, despite of Cavani’s absence, the individual brilliance of Ezequiel Lavezzi still remain a big threat for Juve as it was shown when the Argentinian international broke through the Bianconeri’s penalty area and got caught by Andrea Pirlo, earning a penalty for his team. A pretty bizarre incident happened with the spot kick though, as Marek Hamsik supposedly scored his first attempt but it was ruled out for an encroachment.
The tension flowed on Hamsik’s blood as he eventually missed the re-take after skying his penalty kick, fortunately the Slovakian international striker made up for his error by scoring a header few minutes later. There’s a bit controversy in the build up for the goal as Hamsik could actually be considered offside, although his earlier movement doesn’t directly related with the goal he scored and Juve players doesn’t seemed to acknowledge anything either.
Applying constant pressure high up on the pitch, the home team earned their reward with another goal, this time it was Goran Pandev, who slotted the ball passed Gianluigi Buffon after capitalizing on a lucky bounce from Pirlo’s failed clearance. Just when things looking comfortable for Napoli, Juve surprised the Partenopei early in the second half as Alessandro Matri pulled a goal back with a simply finish due to some poor defensive display from Walter Mazzarri’s squad.
Tiredness seemed to grow on the Napoli players as they weren’t able to press high up in the pitch anymore, leaving too many space and time for Juventus players to slowly getting their rhythm back. However, luck was still at the home team’s disposal as from a counter attack, Pandev doubled his tally with a fine struck low shot, beating Buffon all ends up and giving the home team their two goals advantage back.
However, once again tiredness was pretty much shown by the Napoli players, who looked very clumsy at the back as they conceded another goal not long after Pandev extended the home team’s lead. Estigarribia was the one who scored Juve’s second in a pretty similar situation with the Bianconeri’s first as once again, the Partenopei’s right side of defense were left simply wide open, leaving the Paraguayan international free without any marker at all.
The momentum obviously swung on Juventus’ hand especially when Napoli can’t really get a hold of the midfield at all due to their tiredness. Being helped with a little bit of luck, the Bianconeri finally managed to get the equalizing goal through Simone Pepe’s excellent run which received a fortunate bounce that provided him the space to place his shot passed Morgan De Sanctis for the third time in the league.
This result still brings an advantage for Juventus as although they’re only two points ahead of two second place teams, Ac Milan and Udinese, at the very least they can still kept their confidence running high with that result. However, Antonio Conte’s side should really keep their feet on the ground as a single mistake could very well ended their current run of good spell in the league, which pretty much earned because their absence in any Euroepan competition.
Napoli v Juventus 3-3
Goals: Hamsik 23, Pandev 40, 69 (Napoli); Matri 48, Estigarribia 72, Pepe 79 (Juventus)
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica (Fernandez 76); Maggio, Inler, Gargano, Zuniga (Dossena 86); Hamsik, Pandev (Santana 71); Lavezzi
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pepe (Pazienza 85), Pirlo, Vidal, Estigarribia; Matri (Quagliarella 89), Vucinic (Del Piero 91)