Napoli fail to get past Verona in 1-1 draw, unable to win for only the 2nd time this season.

Napoli fail to get past Verona in 1-1 draw, unable to win for only the 2nd time this season. post thumbnail image

Napoli Xi: Ospina, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, Rui, Anguissa, Ruiz, Politano, Zielinski, Insigne, Oshimen

Verona Xi: Montipo, Casale, Ceccherini, Gunter, Dawidowicz, Veloso, Tameze, Faraoni, Caprari, Barak, Simeone

Napoli: 1 Verona: 0

Scorers:

Napoli: Di Lorenzo (18) Verona: Simeone (13)

Napoli and their fans wouldn’t forget that it was this fixture last season ,Verona at home, that knocked them out of contention for the champions league. They would want to make that right but the match was looking like it was going to be a tough one.

After escaping Salernitana with all 3 points, Napoli were hoping for a more straightforward match but sadly this wouldnt come against Verona. The Gialloblu were the upstarts of Serie A, coming off a fine win against Juventus, the northern team would be looking to do damage to this Napoli team. The home side were especially vulnerable after their star defender and captain ,Kalidou koulibaly, was sent of in the previous match and was facing a 1 match suspension. He was replaced with 3rd choice Juan Jesus, brought in this season, as Manolas was still out injured. The other changes came in attack, Insigne coming in for Lozano and Oshimen returning from injury.

Verona were looking dangerous. None more so than Giovanni Simeone, who had scored 6 goals in his last two games. Aside from playmaker Lazovic, the team was unchanged from the win against Juventus. After beating Mourinho, Sarri and Allegri, Igor Tudor would be hoping to take the scalp of Spalletti this evening.

In the opening minutes of the game, Verona started at a higher tempo seeming to bring the game to Napoli, Casale managed to fire a cross but Jesus managed to make his first contribution to the game, clearing before a lurking Simeone could put it away.

Napoli would respond down the other end with a Rui cross to an open Zielinski inside the box, but he failed to get any real contact. But once again Verona were knocking on the door. A clever run from Barak fed Caprari just outside the box who fired down to Ospina’s left but the keeper made a good stop.

Verona would not be deterred however, after another excellent run from Barak, gliding past Rui down the right flank of Napoli’s final third, he found Simeone across the ground who poked it past Opsina for the first goal of the evening. Napoli 0 Verona 1. It was Siemone’s 7th goal in 3 matches.

Napoli, who had come back before, managed to bounce back quickly. After a free-kick for Napoli rebounded into the path of Ruiz inside the box, he slipped it to the overlapping Di Lorenzo who fed fired the ball through the legs of Montipo for the equalizer. The keeper would want that one back. Napoli 1 Verona 1.

Napoli would have the next chance, a typical Insigne run lead him to cut in an curl a pass to Politano, who headed the ball just wide.

On the other hand, Barak was still causing trouble. His power and poise allowed him to dribble past Rui and Insigne who were struggling to contain him. After winning the ball back from Insigne inside the Napoli box, it took a good block from Jesus to stop the Czech man’s shot.

Rhamani earned the first yellow card of the match. Trodding on Simeone’s feet as they both went for the ball. Rrahmani was, as with the goal, just too slow for the Argentine striker. He would redeem himself soon after, just getting in the way of another Barak strike that was seemingly goalbound.

Insigne would test Montipo’s reflexes making his own space and firing, which the keeper would just get fingers too. Unfortunately the Neapolitan would be deemed just offside.

Politano would contribute a dummy and turn that Maradona would be proud of releasing himself and breaking the ankles of the Verona defender down the right, he crossed to Oshimen who stopped, turned and curled the ball onto the right post. A lick of paint would stop the Nigerian from claiming his tenth goal in all competitions.

That would be the last big chance of the first half, an exciting match that hung in the balance.

The first chance of the second half would fall to Insigne sending in a long range free-kick which, after receiving no contact almost went in if not for quick reflexes from Montipo. They would continue their pressing leading to a potential on Oshimen inside the box, which looked less than legal, but the ref saw nothing to it.

The match became a lot scrappier as the game went along, as the 60th minute approached, neither side had really done much to challenge the keepers. It was still frenetic and tense however, with some of the players tiring just a touch as fouls started to creep further into the game.

Spalletti brought Lozano into the game to inject some pace, he quickly had his first opportunity, taking the ball to the edge of the box but unfortunately fired over.

The clearest opportunity so far fell to Barak. Simeone grafted after a long ball and successfully claimed it off Jesus, he turned and fed Barak who had a lot of real estate in the Napoli box, but he was only able to tamely curl the ball into the hands of Ospina.

The rest of the game continued to be frustrating experience for the Partenopei, not only were Verona successfully stifling any form of attack, but also seeming to get away with small niggles that the ref was failing to recognise. This culminated in a potential Oshimen foul in which he was pulled down by new sub Mangnani, after venting his frustration was Oshimen was actually booked himself for dissent.

In the 88th minute, Napoli’s fortune seemed to turn. Another Verona sub Daniel Bessa accumulated two quick yellows after reckless play. Napoli would have an opportunity to win this. The chance seemingly came to Dries Mertens, the Napoli legend stood up to take a 25 yard free kick, which excruciatingly smacked the post and out.

Verona’s discipline would start to crumble when an errant elbow from Nikola Kalininc earned Verona’s second red of the night. They were now down to 9.

However, it would be too little, too late from Napoli. They would be denied victory for only the second time this season, Verona would continue to frustrate Napoli in a seemingly haunting 1-1 ending. Their first place fate was now in the hands of Milan who would be playing Inter this evening.