Getting three points on the road vs Juventus was a demanding task on Napoli, one in which they failed by losing 3-0. The scoreline of 3-0 was not indicative of the actual game play between Napoli vs Juventus, however. Juventus scored within two minutes, followed by two more in the second half. The goals were wonderfully taken to be fair.
- Andrea Pirlo’s Free Kick Goal: Add another goal to his long list of beautifully taken free-kick goals. Pirlo makes it look so easy. He struck the ball up and over the wall and dipped just under the bar (top right corner) leaving no chance to Pepe Reina.
- Paul Pogba’s Goal: Another wonder goal by the young French starlet. Pogba received a ball from Arturo Vidal, flicked it up and then volleyed a hard struck ball off the post and in (Reina with no chance).
- Lorenzo Insigne: One bright spot for Napoli was the play of Insigne. The way he played, he deserved a goal. He created many chances and a few of his shots were very close of finding the back of the net.
- Pepe Reina: Although three goals went in on Reina. He made many big saves to keep Napoli in the game, especially within the first 20 minutes (Pogba’s strike, Bonucci’s close range header). I enjoy watching Reina’s competive edge game in and out.
- Honorable Mentions: Gianluigi Buffon, Fernando Llorente
- Juventus first goal: Was the goal offside? Perhaps. Was it a tough call to make for linesman? For sure. For me this goal is “bad” because I have seen closer offside calls called offside. For this reason, I would rather see more consistency with linesmen to give forwards the benefit of doubt when it very close to call.
- Non-Penalty Call: The referee of the match Rocchi did not award, in most people opinions (even the unbias fan/media point of view) a penalty shot that Higuain clearly deserved. Obviously, could of been a game changer. This could be “karma” for the penalty Napoli got with Torino and/or the penalty they did not receive against Fiorentina.
- Marek Hamsik: I expected more from Hamsik in a big clash vs Juventus. Although he usually does well vs this side, unfortunately did not deliver.
- Jose Callejon: Callejon is probably the most surprising signing of Serie A with his great play. However, he was missing this match. This was probably his worse game for Napoli, which may be due to fatigue. I will give him a pass, considering he has been top form for Napoli all year before this.
- Conte vs Benitez: Both are great coaches in their own form. Conte is about emotion and Benitez is a tactician. However, the post-game press conference both spoke of dollars. Conte spoke about the big money Napoli invested in squad, whereas Benitez pointed out the large revenues Juventus squad makes. In the end, this was all unnecessary.
Napoli need to look at the few positives from this game and move forward. Napoli had some moments of pressure and had Juventus put at times 9-10 players behind the ball. However, this battle showed Napoli are still a step or two behind scudetto favorites Juventus. Napoli slip to third in the standings now four points behind first place As Roma and three points behind Juventus.
The international break will give some players rest. When the break is over, Napoli will have Parma vist Stadio San Paolo and then go on the road for a Champions League match vs. Borussia Dortmund.
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