Napoli lost ground in the Serie A title competition when they were held to 1-1 away against Juventus on Thursday night.
Juve dominated early and should have gone ahead when Weston McKennie met Federico Bernardeschi’s corner, but the American could only nod outside from the center of the penalty area.
Somewhat opposed to the game, it was the guests who took the lead when Dries Mertens collected Matteo Politano’s dismissal to shoot past both Wojciech Szczesny and the retiring Matthijs de Ligt.
Napoli seemed to have taken the initiative but could not build on their advantage and had to pay when Federico Chiesa shot in from outside the penalty area via a dismissal from Stanislav Lobotka.
Napoli are now six points behind Serie A leader Inter, who had their Thursday match postponed, and five behind Milan, who beat Roma 3-1. At the same time, Juve is down in fifth place, three points behind fourth place Atalanta.
De Ligt was decent / Stefano Guidi / GettyImages
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6/10 – Had some routine rescues to do all the time. Got a finger on Merten’s strike which prevented De Ligt from being able to clear it, although it is difficult to put any blame on either for the confusion.
Juan Cuadrado (RB) – 6/10 – With Juve struggling to create in midfield, Cuadrado was one of their main hopes in the attacking third. Buzzed around to the right and was always an outlet, but could not make any major impact.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – 7/10 – With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci out, Rugani got off to a rare start and did pretty well. Chiellini and Bonucci’s absence was not so noticeable, which is to say.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 7/10 – Withdraw on the line but the slightest touch from Szczesny diverted Merten’s shot out of his way. Positionally, he was excellent and was never shy to get on the ball.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 5/10 – Booked for hacking down Politano. It was once seen as one of the more threatening slopes in European football but could not put together anything remarkable here.
Rabiot had another stinker / Stefano Guidi / GettyImages
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – 7/10 – In a field of dubious and boring Juve midfielders, Locatelli is one of the bright sparks. More progressive and creative than his colleagues, even if not everything turned out.
Weston McKennie (CM) – 5/10 – Missed an absolutely golden chance to open the shooter and nodded outside with the goal at his mercy.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – N / A – No idea what he brings to this Juve team. No creativity, no defensive stability, no attack threat.
What a return for Chiesa / Stefano Guidi / GettyImages
Federico Bernardeschi (RW) – 4/10 – Cut in and ran over the ball on a few occasions in the first half. Had been in hot shape but was extinguished on Thursday night.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 4/10 – The pass was tilted when precision was needed and his shooting was off.
Federico Chiesa (LW) – 9/10 – Looked sharp in the opening changes, saw a shot blocked before it shot just outside. Dragged Juve back into the competition thanks to their rejected goal.
Paulo Dybala (AM) – 7/10 – Bring a rescue from Ospina moments after entering. Raised Juve’s pace with his introduction.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 5/10
Moise Cain (ST) – 5/10
Mattia De Sciglio (LB) – 5/10
Dejan Kulusevski (LW) – 5/10
Ospina made some saves / Stefano Guidi / GettyImages
David Ospina (GK) – 7/10 – Made some sharp stops and was a safe presence at the back.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo (RB) – 6/10 – Got a good block in to deny Chiesa. Decent right but lost Chiesa on a few occasions.
Amir Rrahmani (CB) – 7/10 – Averted much of what Juve threw towards their back line. Very steady.
Juan Jesus (CB) – 7/10 – Made some important blocks and was rarely taken out of position. Hardly Napoli’s first choice midfielder but this achievement would have encouraged manager Luciano Spalletti.
Faouzi Ghoulam (LB) – 6/10 – Enjoyed a nice amount of space to explore during the first half.
Lobotka was impressive / Jonathan Moscrop / GettyImages
Diego Demme (CM) – 6/10 – The three Demme, Lobotka and Zielinksi worked well against Juve’s messy trio. Demme used the ball nicely but also got a warning for dissent.
Stanislav Lobotka (CM) – 7/10 – Provided some nice balance to Napoli’s midfield. Unlucky with the weaning for Chiesa’s goal but was solid apart from that.
Piotr Zielinski (AM) – 6/10 – Buzzed around behind the three front nicely. Tested Szczesny with a cool drive that was a little too central. The influence diminished during the second half.
Insigne enjoyed the freedom of Turin / MB Media / GettyImages
Matteo Politano (RW) – 6/10 – Operated the field well before he assisted Mertens. Interrupted for Elmas in the second half.
Dries Mertens (ST) – 7/10 – Remained calm to rattle in the opener. Got many shots away but was often repulsed by Szczesny.
Lorenzo Insigne (LW) – 8/10 – Was often the free man on the left. Come up with a decent save from Szczesny from a tight angle. Knit Napoli’s attacking game excellently together.
Eljif Elmas (RW) – 5/10
Andrea Petagna (ST) – N / A
Alessandro Zanoli (RB) – N / A
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