Reina (7), Mario Rui (7.5), Koulibaly (9), Albiol (8), Hysaj (7.5); Hamsik (8), Jorginho (8), Allan
(7.5); Insigne (8.5), Mertens (7.5), Callejon (8.5)
[Subs: Zielinski (7), Maksimovic (N/A), Rog (N/A)]
After getting kicked out of another competition, Napoli were given a great chance to bounce back with a home game against Hellas Verona.
A game in which we dominated, the sole issue that was present was our inability to finish. However, after 65 frustrating minutes, we got the goal we needed.
The first half began with Napoli controlling possession and launching attack after attack on the visitor’s goal. Mertens came close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute when Lorenzo Insigne played a great ball over to him at the back post, but his shot hit the woodwork and Verona were able to clear the ball upfield.
Later on, Insigne failed to capitalize a golden opportunity to give us the lead when he skied the ball with his left foot after it was flicked on to him by Allan.
Towards the end of the half Dries had another opportunity to give Napoli the lead but he put his shot wide. Sarri’s men picked up where they left off by continuing to pester I Mastini’s goal in the second half.
Insigne had a volley saved by Nikolas two minutes into the half, and soon after his attempted header hit the post. In the 61st minute Mertens put the ball into the back of the net but the referee deemed it offside.
However, just 4 minutes later Koulibaly rose up to meet Mario Rui’s corner and finally give Napoli the lead they’d been searching for. Fabio Pecchia was then ejected after arguing that K2 pushed one of his players in the box, failing to realize that Kalidou didn’t foul anyone, he’s just that formidable.
Callejon then doubled our lead in the 78th minute after finishing on a cross from Insigne, a sight we’ve grown accustomed to. The Partenopei would see out the rest of the match to stay top of Serie A.
After another match day we’re top of the league and one step closer to the Scudetto. Today’s match all around was great, the only negative I can take from it is we need to be more clinical with our chances. We need to get back to scoring early on so that we can finish games off quick. Other than that the team played great and got a great win to start out league play in 2018.
By Massimo Nuzzo Follow @sscncentral