Re: Napoli 3-1 Juventus: Marek Hamsik Inspires The Azzurri To Victory
> The Slovakian bounced back after missing a penalty to score one goal and
> set up another as Napoli came from behind to leapfrog Juventus in the chase
> for Europe.
> Napoli came from behind to beat Juventus 3-1 in Serie A, ending an
> eight-game winless run to overtake the Bianconeri in the race for European
> football next season.
> Giorgio Chiellini gave Juve a seventh minute lead, but Hamsik headed home
> just three minutes after blazing over from the penalty spot. The Slovakian
> then delivered the cross from which Fabio Quagliarella turned into the back
> of the net 18 minutes from time before Ezequiel Lavezzi fired in a late
> The main news for Juventus was the decision to start Diego from the bench
> as they reverted to an orthodox 4-4-2 formation. Napoli again started with
> Juan Zuniga starting from the left of midfield, with the usual pair of
> Walter Gargano and Michele Pazienza through the middle.
> Napoli came closest in the opening minutes. Hamsik did well to spray the
> ball wide and Christian Maggio floated a dangerous ball over, which curled
> wickedly towards Alex Manninger's far post, but luckily for the
> Juventus 'keeper it was neither on target, nor directed towards a
> Napoli attacker.
> But surprisingly, it was Juve who took the lead against the run of play in
> only the seventh minute. A free kick was crossed in from the right,
> Alessandro Del Piero got a flick on at the near post, and Paolo Cannavaro
> allowed Giorgio Chiellini a free run to the far post to head past Morgan De
> Sanctis from three yards out.
> It was a massive boost for the Bianconeri, but they suffered a setback just
> two minutes later when Christian Poulsen was forced to limp off with an
> injury to his left leg. Alberto Zaccheroni made a like-for-like
> replacement, bringing on Antonio Candreva.
> Maggio forced his way into another good position soon after, but his shot
> was easily blocked, and then after a poor challenge by Felipe Melo on
> Gargano, Gabriele Grava was booked for an equally mistimed tackle on
> substitute Candreva.
> The early Juve goal had forced Napoli onto the attack, and Quagliarella
> attempted a snap-shot from 25 yards as the home side upped the pace, but
> Manninger was able to hold on to the low effort. Del Piero collected the
> game's second yellow card for using his forearm up against Grava as
> they chased a loose ball side-by-side.
> From the free kick, the Partenopei broke, and Lavezzi attempted to fire a
> 20-yard shot high across Manninger, but the Austrian was able to palm the
> ball over at full stretch. The resulting corner was swung in towards Paolo
> Cannavaro, but he went down easily under the challenge of Chiellini as the
> ball sailed harmlessly over the pair's heads.
> There were more cards on display than at a children's birthday party,
> and within a minute of Mauro Camoranesi being cautioned for a foul, he was
> given a stern lecture, rather than a red card, by referee Nicola Rizzoli
> for showing dissent after another poor tackle on Zuniga.
> The home side were seeing more than their fair share of the ball, but were
> providing few clear chances, settling instead for sporadic penalty shouts,
> whilst Juve could have had a second had Jonathan Zebina been able to find a
> black and white shirt with his cut-back after he'd done well to reach
> the byline.
> Whilst it was a reasonably solid Juve that managed to see out the first
> half, they were conceding far too much possession to the Vesuviani, who
> could easily have scored in stoppage time when a free kick from deep caused
> panic in the penalty area before Manninger ultimately managed to force the
> ball away.
> Napoli had a wonderful chance to equalise immediately after the break when
> Zebina tugged back Quagliarella and referee Rizzoli pointed to the penalty
> spot. But Hamsik incomprehensibly blazed the spot-kick high over the bar,
> to the relief of Zebina and the Bianconeri.
> Within a minute it looked as though the Azzurri could pay double for
> Hamsik's miss as Del Piero broke clear at the other end, but
> Campagnaro's excellent cover tackle kept the home side in the game.
> And they were level in the 50th minute, with the Slovakian Hamsik making up
> for his spot-kick error.
> Fabio Quagliarella did brilliantly to commit Zebina before whipping in a
> delightful left foot cross to the far post, where the unmarked Hamsik
> headed home a deserved equaliser.
> Napoli's tails were now up and they began to really lay siege on the
> home goal. They could so easily have taken the lead when a cross from the
> right wasn't cleared by the Bianconeri and dropped kindly for Pazienza
> at the far post. The midfielder's fierce right foot drive flashed just
> wide of the far post with Lavezzi just inches away from directing the ball
> into the Juve net.
> Again the home side created a guilt-edged chance on 61 minutes when Zuniga
> did well on the left before sending in a cross towards the head of Maggio,
> but the ball was just too high for the former Sampdoria man to keep under
> control and instead his effort flew over the bar.
> Zaccheroni then made his second change, introducing Diego at the expense of
> Camoranesi as he looked for his men to control more of the play in the face
> of Napoli's continued dominance.
> On a rare Juve attack, Del Piero seemed to run out of ideas when Grava
> stood up well against him and he was unable to get a cross in towards the
> waiting Amauri. The skipper was then replaced with 25 minutes still on the
> clock, allowing Zdenek Grygera to come on and shore up the Bianconeri
> defence, switching the formation to a 3-5-1-1.
> Diego almost put in Amauri with a dangerous free-kick, but Campagnaro slid
> in superbly to clear and when the ball came back into the Napoli box, the
> Brazilian striker's header failed to trouble De Sanctis' goal.
> Juve were made to pay in the 72nd minute when the Vesuviani scored the
> second goal their dominance had deserved. Hamsik's left foot cross
> from the right tempted Manninger out of his goal, and when the keeper
> failed to reach the ball, Quagliarella was able to stretch out his right
> boot and turn the ball home to send the home crowd into raptures.
> The Turin side predictably went straight onto the attack in a desperate bid
> to rescue something from the game, but their final ball was all too often
> Game-breaker Hamsik was withdrawn to a standing ovation in a bid to tighten
> Napoli up in the face of the increased pressure, with Luca Cigarini taking
> his place.
> But with two minutes remaining the home side clinched the three points when
> Ezequiel Lavezzi dropped in behind Zebina to fire home from a left wing
> cross, completing Juve's misery.
> The result sends Napoli into sixth place, ahead of Juventus on their
> head-to-head record, and just three points behind the Champions League
> qualification spot.
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