SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 9 - 27 Oct 2013 (11.30 UK)
Napoli 2 - 0 Torino
Higuain pens 14, 32 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Napoli made short work of Torino, securing the 2-0 win thanks to a pair of controversial Gonzalo Higuain penalties.

The Partenopei wanted to get back on track in Serie A after their defeat to Roma, though Paolo Cannavaro was suspended with Juan Camilo Zuniga and Miguel Angel Britos injured. Toro had a long list of absentees, including Matteo Brighi, Cesare Bovo, Marcelo Larrondo, Guillermo Rodriguez, Alexander Farnerud, Napoli-owned Omar El Kaddouri and banned Ciro Immobile.

Last season the Granata earned a stoppage-time 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo. Dries Mertens burst into the box and tripped over Nicola Bellomo’s leg to earn an early penalty, leaving his leg trailing to make sure the contact was clear. Gonzalo Higuain has been struggling with injury recently, but he blasted the spot-kick into the roof of the net to put Napoli in front.

Higuain’s daisy-cutter skimmed the far post with Daniele Padelli beaten, then the goalkeeper got a hand to another shot from Pipita set up by Mertens.

Napoli received another very controversial penalty when Glik charged down a Federico Fernandez shot from point-blank range with his elbow, but was clearly trying to get out of the way. The referee had not given it, but then awarded the spot-kick on advice from his assistant. Nonetheless, Higuain stepped up and converted this time with a low drive into the other corner.

Curiously, Napoli had not received any Serie A penalties this season before these two in one game.

It should’ve been 3-0, as Padelli came tearing out and completely missed the ball, but Lorenzo Insigne’s chip was crucially headed away by Danilo D’Ambrosio.

Pepe Reina fingertipped an Alessio Cerci free kick over the bar, while Glik fired off target from a corner. Giampiero Ventura made a double change at the break, introducing Migjen Basha and Riccardo Meggiorini.

It made little difference, as Napoli were increasingly comfortable with their 2-0 lead. Reina easily smothered a long-range Basha effort and Paulo Vitor Barreto scuffed his shot wide.

Insigne blasted over from distance on the counter and Padelli needed a strong hand to deny the Mertens snapshot.

Both sides had excellent scoring opportunities in quick succession on 78 minutes. First Reina needed a genuinely tough save on Meggiorini’s angled drive, then Jose Callejon went on the counter-attack and Padelli fingertipped the finish round the post when one-on-one.

The referee added one final controversial decision, as Basha was shown a straight red card for his rugby tackle on Goran Pandev. The official considered it to be a clear scoring opportunity, even though there was another player back to cover.


Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Fernandez, Armero; Inler, Dzemaili; Mertens (Pandev 75), Hamsik (Zapata 80), Insigne; Higuain (Callejon 67)
Torino: Padelli; Darmian, Glik, Moretti; D’Ambrosio (Maksimovic 62), Gazzi (Basha 46), Vives, Bellomo, Masiello; Cerci (Meggiorini 46), Barreto
Ref: De Marco

Sent off: Basha 86 (T)