Napoli have ended the Juventus unbeaten record for this season and lifted their first trophy in 22 years by winning the Coppa Italia 2-0!
The passion was palpable at a packed Stadio Olimpico in Rome with 30,000 fans for each team, as it was Alessandro Del Piero’s final game in the Bianconeri jersey (the 705th) and his team wore a special patch marking the occasion. Juve had the chance to do The Double and it could be Napoli’s first piece of silverware since 1990.
Giorgio Chiellini and Paolo De Ceglie were injured, while Marcelo Estigarribia and Marco Borriello were given the start rather than Simone Pepe and Mirko Vucinic. As always in the Coppa this season, Marco Storari took the gloves. Walter Gargano was suspended for Napoli, but Ezequiel Lavezzi returned after being dropped in recent weeks. Juan Camilo Zuniga and Blerim Dzemaili stepped into the midfield.
It took 69 seconds for the first chance, as Hugo Campagnaro burst down the right and crossed for Zuniga’s header into the ground, beaten away by Storari. Edinson Cavani was flagged offside for a very tight decision on Lavezzi’s through ball. Lavezzi then went on the counter himself and drilled wide, while Zuniga’s fierce effort was charged down by Leonardo Bonucci in an aggressive Napoli start.
Morgan De Sanctis flapped away a Claudio Marchisio curler from the edge of the box. Lavezzi’s ball whipped across the face of goal, but Marek Hamsik just failed to get his head to it at the back post.
Borriello curled wide of the far stick from distance and Juventus had penalty appeals just before half-time when Marchisio was pulling the trigger on the edge of the area only for Salvatore Aronica’s tackle to intercept the kick. The defender did kick the inside of Marchisio’s thigh as he was swinging his leg.
With the last kick of the first half, Del Piero’s free kick was palmed away by De Sanctis.
After the restart Blerim Dzemaili went on a strong run forward from midfield, but his pass across the face of goal was a little too long for Cavani. Napoli were again piling on pressure as they had early in the first half, but Del Piero was incorrectly flagged offside on Pirlo’s pass.
Stephan Lichtsteiner ran a risk with a potential handling offence during a sliding tackle on Dzemaili in the box, then Christian Maggio also had timid appeals when going shoulder-to-shoulder with Martin Caceres.
On 62 minutes the referee pointed to the spot when Lavezzi snuck between Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli to latch on to a flicked-on throw-in, brought down by Storari. Cavani stepped up and sent Storari the wrong way to put Napoli in front.
Pepe and Vucinic were thrown on for Lichtsteiner and Del Piero, officially ending the captain’s Juventus career. Goran Pandev replaced Lavezzi, who could also be making his last appearance for Napoli.
De Sanctis got down well to parry a fine Bonucci volley at the base of the near post. Pepe had a great chance to score, but it took a strange deflection off Fabio Quagliarella and hit De Sanctis on the shin, looping up just wide of an open goal.
A Pirlo free kick hit the wall, while a crucial Caceres intervention stopped Cavani going clear on the counter-attack. Napoli were now pegged back in their own half and the tactic paid off, as they went on a classic counter-attack to double their lead.
Pandev burst forward and threaded through for Hamsik, who kept his cool to place a delicate angled drive across Storari and into the far side-netting.
Juventus finished the match with 10 men, as Quagliarella was sent off for lashing out an elbow as Aronica had his arms around the substitute.
Juventus 0-2 Napoli
Scorers: Cavani pen 63 (N), Hamsik 83 (N)
Juventus: Storari; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres; Lichtsteiner (Pepe 68), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia; Del Piero (Vucinic 68), Borriello (Quagliarella 72)
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Dzemaili, Inler, Hamsik (Dossena 85), Zuniga; Lavezzi (Pandev 72), Cavani (Britos 92)
Sent off: Quagliarella 90 (J)
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.