NEWS
Saturday August 11 2012
Super Cup: Juve beat nine-man Napoli

Juventus fought back twice for a 2-2 draw, but when Napoli had two men controversially sent off, the Bianconeri won the Italian Super Cup 4-2 in extra time.

The SuperCoppa opens the campaign and is between the holders of the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto at the rainy Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing. This is also a replay of the Coppa Final in May that saw the Partenopei emerge 2-0 winners, their first piece of silverware since 1990.

Antonio Conte was replaced on the bench by Massimo Carrera due to a 10-month ban in the betting trial that was announced yesterday. Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Pepe were cleared. With Giorgio Chiellini, Mauricio Isla and Martin Caceres injured, Alessandro Matri and Sebastian Giovinco were the surprise starters.

Napoli had Edinson Cavani back with Goran Pandev after the short-lived Olympics experience, though Miguel Angel Britos and Juan Camilo Zuniga were chosen ahead of Salvatore Aronica and Andrea Dossena. Blerim Dzemaili sat out a ban. This was also the first Italian competitive match with goal-line referees.

Nobody was ready to tap in a dangerous Giovinco ball across the face of goal. From the resulting corner, Matri was furious as he demanded a penalty for a nudge from behind, but the referee rightly waved play on.

Giovinco’s cross took a deflection and looped over Morgan De Sanctis, but fortunately for the Napoli goalkeeper it was off target. Kwadwo Asamoah’s great work dummied two defenders down the left and his strike was in-between the far top corner and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s header.

It was Napoli who took the lead with a classic counter-attack. Cavani was sent totally clear on goal from inside his own half by Goran Pandev and Gigi Buffon performed a miracle to fingertip the ball off his feet, but the Uruguayan stayed up and regained his composure to fire into the empty net as the goalkeeper tried to scramble back. It was Lucio who was slow in the original move.

Pandev’s volley was into Buffon’s arms, but a free kick came to Marek Hamsik and Buffon needed a fingertip save to turn his angled drive across the face of goal.

Just as Napoli were putting on the pressure, Juventus equalised with Asamoah’s first goal in a Bianconeri jersey. It was a screamer of a left-foot volley from the edge of the box and Morgan De Sanctis got a hand to it at the near post, but couldn’t stop the powerful finish squirming in off the wet turf.

Paolo Cannavaro also hit a fierce half-volley from distance that Buffon smothered on the ground.

Juve had barely finished celebrating when Napoli restored their lead. Pandev pounced on an uncertain Bonucci and bravely risked a potential kick in the face to surge into the box and delicately chip Buffon. It was the Macedonian’s seventh career goal against the Old Lady.

In first half stoppages Napoli ran a big risk, as a deflected cross looped up and De Sanctis flapped it on to the crossbar.

Mirko Vucinic replaced Matri for the second half, but Cavani hit a half-volley that stung Buffon’s palms. The move continued and Vucinic cracked a shot against the underside of the crossbar with the aid of a De Sanctis fingertip from a tight angle.

Cannavaro was booked for a very late sliding tackle to hack down Giovinco, as was Valon Behrami after he clattered into Claudio Marchisio. Andrea Pirlo’s curling free kick from distance dipped towards the far top corner, but De Sanctis flew to palm it away.

Cavani had a great chance to extend the advantage on the counter-attack, but rolled across the face of goal rather than cut back to the unmarked Hamsik, skimming the upright.

Moments later Vucinic hooked a long ball forward and waltzed round De Sanctis, but Cannavaro got back in time for a decisive goalline clearance!

Cavani pounced when Bonucci was distracted, the half-volley hitting the side-netting in another mistake from the Italian international defender. Cavani helped out in defence, but got himself booked for a late tackle from behind on Pirlo and the midfielder curled over.

The referee pointed to the spot when Vucinic fell under a Federico Fernandez challenge, though it’s not entirely clear if the Napoli man got the ball first. Vidal stepped up and powerfully converted by sending De Sanctis the wrong way for the equaliser.

Walter Gargano’s shot was deflected on to the side-netting, but there was a blatant push on Behrami in the middle of the box. Vucinic burst past Fernandez and set up Giovinco, forcing De Sanctis to come screaming out of the penalty area to clear at his feet.

In a dramatic twist, Pandev was shown a straight red card for something he said to the linesman. The striker was flabbergasted and didn’t seem to realise what had happened, claiming he only said ‘that wasn’t offside.’ Lorenzo Insigne was about to come on at the time, but this change had to be shelved.

Vidal rolled across for Vucinic, but a crucial Britos interception stopped him tapping in.

In stoppages Napoli went down to nine men, as Zuniga received a second yellow card for a mistimed clash with Giovinco. Coach Walter Mazzarri was also sent off for dissent, as the Italian Super Cup went to extra time with 11 against 9.

Juventus took the lead for the first time, as Pirlo curled a free kick that Maggio accidentally nodded into his own net as De Sanctis completely mistimed his intervention.

There was no way back for nine-man Napoli, as moments later Vucinic added a fourth. The credit goes to Marchisio, who with one motion volleyed a cushioned assist from a long ball for Vucinic to tap into an empty net.

The Partenopei were limping and two men down, but would not give up with Cavani, Maggio and Britos trying to hit on the counter-attack.

Juventus 4-2 Napoli (aet)

Scorers: Cavani 28 (N), Asamoah 37 (J), Pandev 41 (N), Vidal pen 73 (J), Maggio og 97 (J), Vucinic 101 (J)

Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Lucio; Lichtsteiner (Padoin 89), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Matri (Vucinic 46), Giovinco

Napoli: De  Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro (Fernandez 62), Britos; Maggio, Behrami, Inler (Dossena 106), Hamsik (Gargano 68), Zuniga; Pandev, Cavani

Ref: Mazzoleni

Sent off: Pandev 85 (N), Zuniga 93 (N), Mazzarri 93 (Coach N)

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!

FOOTBALL ITALIA RELATED NEWS

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES