SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 8 - 20 Oct 2012 (17.00 UK)
Juventus 2 - 0 Napoli
Caceres 80 (J), Pogba 82 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Juventus won the top of the table clash thanks to splendid goals from substitutes Martin Caceres and Paul Pogba as Napoli were defeated 2-0.

This was a huge Scudetto showdown between the joint Serie A leaders who were both still unbeaten. They had already faced off in recent months for the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup, winning one each amid controversy and tension that still dragged on. Assistant manager Angelo Alessio returned to the bench after his ban was cut on appeal.

Gianluigi Buffon and Mirko Vucinic were out after picking up a thigh strain and flu on international duty, so Marco Storari, Sebastian Giovinco and Neapolitan Fabio Quagliarella started. The Partenopei were only missing Miguel Angel Britos, as Edinson Cavani was fit to start despite missing his flight back from Uruguay.

The first save was after 58 seconds when Morgan De Sanctis got down to parry a Sebastian Giovinco angled drive. There was confusion between Hugo Campagnaro and De Sanctis, but they just about managed to scramble clear as Giovinco dived in.

Moments later Napoli went on the counter and Juan Camilo Zuniga hit a fresh-air volley inside the box. During that move, Leonardo Bonucci was stretchered off with a left knee problem, but was able to continue after treatment.

Napoli went incredibly close on 26 minutes after Arturo Vidal tripped Gokhan Inler right on the outside edge of the box. Cavani tried to curl it directly from an improbable angle and was very unlucky, as the ball clipped the far top corner of the woodwork. It would’ve been a sensational strike.

De Sanctis smothered a Kwadwo Asamoah cross-shot after he surged past Christian Maggio. In first half stoppages, a deflected Claudio Marchisio screamer from the D was fingertipped out from under the bar by De Sanctis. Napoli went on the counter and Andrea Barzagli sprinted down the other end to stop Maggio, while Giovinco just failed at full stretch to get hold of a long ball with De Sanctis off his line.

After the restart Pirlo’s free kick was deflected off the wall, but De Sanctis got back across to block. Napoli wasted a set piece to spark a counter-attack, which concluded with Giovinco tripped, but the referee waved play on.

Goran Pandev skipped past Chiellini and would’ve been clear but for Marchisio tracking back and using his strength. Giovinco had a double opportunity on 56 minutes from the penalty spot, but scuffed the first attempt and then fired the second wide.

Marek Hamsik dribbled into the area, but Barzagli cut him off with a clean tackle. A wonderful long Pirlo pass sent substitute Alessandro Matri clear, but his first touch was poor and De Sanctis was able to flap it away.

Asamoah went on a surging run from midfield and was stopped by a crucial and clean Maggio tackle. Cavani attempted an audacious volley that whistled off target.

The deadlock was eventually broken 10 minutes from time when a corner was whipped in and substitute Martin Caceres was left unmarked to nod in from six yards. The Uruguayan went wild with his celebrations, whipping off his shirt and running into the stands.

Napoli were still in shock when Juventus doubled their advantage with another substitute. Paul Pogba saw a poor clearance come down on the edge of the box and unleashed a stunning low volley that bounced right in front of De Sanctis to fly in at the bottom corner. It was the former Manchester United midfielder’s debut Serie A goal and he immediately pointed to Antonio Conte in the stands. Juve have now netted with 12 different players in eight Serie A games.

Lorenzo Insigne was introduced for defender Alessandro Gamberini, leaving huge gaps at the back where Matri failed to get his volley on target. Pandev badly over-hit the pass for Insigne, allowing Storari to smother.


Juventus: Storari; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal (Pogba 75), Asamoah (Caceres 77); Quagliarella (Matri 60), Giovinco
Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Gamberini (Insigne 84); Maggio, Inler, Behrami (Dzemaili 87), Zuniga; Hamsik; Pandev, Cavani
Ref: Damato