Napoli 1-0 Juventus: Bianconeri miss out on chance to close the gap to leaders AC Milan after Lorenzo Insigne scores from the spot to take weight off shoulders of under-pressure manager Gennaro Gattuso
- Lorenzo Insigne scored from the spot following a foul by Giorgio Chiellini
- Juventus were dominant in the second-half but could not find the back of the net
- The result leaves Andrea Pirlo’s side seven points behind AC Milan in the table
Lorenzo Insigne’s first-half penalty earned Napoli a 1-0 win over Juventus in Serie A on Saturday, with a first defeat in eight in all competitions leaving the champions seven points behind league leaders AC Milan in the standings.
Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini was penalised for a foul on Napoli’s Amir Rrahmani in the penalty area to concede a 31st-minute spot kick, which Insigne converted to score what proved to be the winner and his 100th goal in all competitions for Napoli.
Juventus looked a shadow of their normal selves offensively in the first half but improved after the break, with Federico Chiesa denied by a fine save from Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.
Napoli fought hard to win and move two points behind Juventus in the Serie A standings
Cristiano Ronaldo and co had a frustrating night as they were unable to break Napoli down
Under-pressure manager Gennaro Gattuso celebrated with his players following the game
Cristiano Ronaldo was having an off day in front of goal, missing a glorious chance with his head late on to snatch a point, with Napoli seeing out the win to move into fourth on 40 points, two behind Juventus in third.
The result gives manager Gennaro Gattuso a boost amid recent calls for his sacking as he got one over his former AC Milan team-mate Andrea Pirlo.
‘We showed great heart and determination, Juve deserved something more, but my team was under pressure and fought hard to keep the clean sheet, the Napoli manager told Sky Sport Italia.
‘I never had doubts on this squad, otherwise I would’ve picked up my things and gone home. You can’t get anywhere without the faith of the players. I always felt they were ready to do what I asked and that’s what matters.’
The winning goal was Insigne’s 100th while wearing the Napoli jersey. After the match he said: ‘We are happy with the result, but above all the performance, because we worked as a team, fighting together to the end and Chucky was shattered at the end, so we were basically down to 10. We still united as a team and brought home the victory.
Giorgio Chiellini gave away a penalty here for a coming together with Amir Rahrmani
Lorenzo Insigne made no mistake from the spot tucking the ball past Wojciech Szczesny
Juventus dominated the second-half of the game but couldn’t get the ball past Alex Meret
‘This season hasn’t been as good as last year yet, but we had so many problems from injuries to COVID, and lost David Ospina in the warm-up too today.
‘We can’t let it distract us, we need to stay calm and focused, just keep going.’
The Napoli striker ended his curse of missing three previous spot-kicks against the Bianconeri, one only last month in the Supercoppa.
‘I was calm, because I know the coach and my teammates have faith in me and that is enough. I am still sad about what happened in the Supercoppa, but if I just think about mistakes of the past, I will never be able to move on. I have to keep going.
‘It’s special as a Neapolitan to seal this victory over Juventus and I dedicate it to my wife for Valentine’s Day.’
Despite being unable to find the net, Pirlo said he is confident his side can compete for the title if they ‘keep playing at this level’.
He said: ‘It’s natural when playing this many games that we lack a bit of sharpness, but it was a good performance and the only thing we were missing was a goal.
It was an unusually wasteful night for Ronaldo who missed some good chances to equalise
‘There’s no guarantee the team that scores the most goals then wins the Scudetto. We create plenty of chances, the Napoli goalkeeper was Man of the Match, so I can’t complain about my strikers today.
‘We could be 10 points off the top with a game in hand, but it’s still only February and if we keep playing at this level, we’ll do well.
‘If we put in this type of performance and score goals, then I am sure we’ll get the results we want.’
Pirlo however was unhappy with the decision which went against his side, when Chiellini judged to have fouled Rrahmani for the penalty.
He said: ‘If you give a penalty for that, then any contact will be punishable by a spot-kick. If that had been given for us, there would’ve been a lot of controversy and complaints, assuming it’d be given to us at all.
‘I am just saying the incidents went that way today. It was a dubious penalty, a doubt over the double yellow card for Giovanni Di Lorenzo. Some incidents are treated differently when against Juventus, because everyone talks about us. Sometimes that tactic works, sometimes it doesn’t. Never mind.’
Gennaro Gattuso got one over Andrea Pirlo in the battle of the former AC Milan team-mates
The result gives the Napoli boss a boost after recent calls for him to be sacked from his role
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