Napoli 1-0 Juventus
A first half penalty brilliantly converted by Lorenzo Insigne gave Napoli a narrow win over Juve at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday night.
The win moves Gli Azzurri up to fourth in the Serie A table while seriously damaging Juve’s hopes of winning a tenth successive Scudetto. The latest Serie A 2021 betting odds still have Inter Milan as favourites to win the title and their fans will have been delighted by this result, while Juve head coach Andrea Pirlo has work to do to ensure his team stays in the race.
Highlights of the game
The visitors came out of the blocks quickly and won an early corner which Federico Bernardeschi sent over for Adrien Rabiot to meet, but his header flew over the bar.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring achievements, at Juventus, and beyond, are legendary in the game and he was the first to test the Napoli keeper Alex Meret when he took a pass from Alvaro Morata and let fly from just outside the penalty area. Morata had a shot blocked; but then Napoli came out fighting. Lorenzo Insigne found space on the left side of the box but fired just over and then Matteo Politano had a shot charged down.
Gli Azzurri made the breakthrough when Giorgio Chiellini was late on Amir Rrahmani and VAR adjudged the foul to be inside the penalty area. The Juve skipper earned a yellow card for that infringement and his opposite number Insigne was cool as you like to fire the spot-kick into the top right corner for his tenth goal of the season.
Inisgne had a taste for goal, and when Piotr Zielinski teed him up he blasted a shot high and wide and then he had an effort blocked as the hosts finished the half strongly. And just before the break Insigne fired one towards the top left corner which Wojciech Szczesny saved brilliantly.
The visitors came out firing again and Morata met a cross from Federico Chiesa but his header flew wide. Then Ronaldo came very close when he met a corner inside the six yard box but Meret was brave to make the block, and Chiesa forced another save from the Napoli stopper.
Midway through the second half Alex Sandro was very close with a shot from the left side of the penalty area but it whistled just past the far post. Napoli have plenty of firepower and there was always a threat of a second goal as the Old Lady was forced to chase the game, and Mexican striker Hirving Lozano found space in the penalty area to get his shot away but the Juve defence scrambled the ball clear.
Ronaldo had another shot saved after good work from Morata and, with the minutes ticking away, Chiesa was inches away with a drive from just outside the penalty area. Then Chiesa crossed for Morata but Meret saved again and, with two minutes left on the clock Adrien Rabiot headed wide from a Chiesa corner.
Sandro crossed and Ronaldo headed straight at Meret as I Bianconeri threw everything at their hosts, then the stopper was there again to save from substitute Weston McKennie. Chiesa had the last effort, on 95 minutes, but he missed and Juve left Naples empty handed.
Juventus dominated possession with over 60 per cent of the ball and won the shot count by 17 to eight, but Napoli keeper Meret was outstanding to keep a clean sheet.
It was a first defeat for I Bianconeri in eight games, while Gli Azzurri are now unbeaten in five games at home.
Tomorrow’s Serie A 2021 updates will be dominated by news from Milan, where Antonio Conte’s Inter host in-form Lazio in a game they need to win to keep the pressure up at the summit.
Back with Juve; having topped their Champions League group, I Bianconeri have a Round of 16 tie away to FC Porto, and you’ll get the best coverage of Europe’s premier competition right here at SBOTOP. Then Juventus return home to host rock bottom Crotone in the league.
Meanwhile Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli have a Europa League game away to La Liga side Granada who are currently just outside the top seven in the Spanish league and will be stiff competition; and then Gli Azzurri have a huge game back in Serie A on Sunday 21st when they visit Gian Piero Gasperini’s free-scoring Atalanta.
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