SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 32 - 6 Apr 2014 (19.45 UK)
Parma 1 - 0 Napoli
Parolo 55 (P)
Stadio Ennio Tardini

Marco Parolo’s fierce strike allowed Parma to beat Napoli for the second time this season, putting the Ducali joint fifth.

The Ducali had already beaten Napoli at the San Paolo this term, but hosted them here after three consecutive defeats, which followed on from the club record 17-round unbeaten run. Antonio Cassano, Nicola Pozzi and Walter Gargano were injured with Amauri and Alessandro Lucarelli suspended. The visitors continued to miss Christian Maggio, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Rafael, but were fresh from beating leaders Juventus 2-0.

Gianfranco Zola was at the Stadio Tardini to watch his two former clubs face off.

Federico Fernandez had the ball in the back of the net after 10 minutes, but had strayed offside when he got his head to a Lorenzo Insigne free kick.

Gonzalo Higuain’s effort was deflected wide, while a promising Parma counter-attack was crucially intercepted by Fernandez, who cut out Jonathan Biabiany’s assist.

Cristian Molinaro was stopped for an extremely tight offside flag and Gokhan Inler drilled wide from distance.

Marek Hamsik claimed he was pushed, but the referee waved play on. There was finally a genuine scoring opportunity on 51 minutes when Biabiany whipped in a cross off the outside of his boot, but Pepe Reina flew to punch it off the head of Ezequiel Schelotto from four yards.

Antonio Mirante smothered an Insigne snapshot, but Parma were stepping up the pace and it made the difference.

Mattia Cassani pulled back from the right and Marco Parolo hit a powerful first time shot under the bar from the edge of the box, giving Reina no chance.

A Hamsik volley was charged down and Afriyie Acquah blasted over from distance, as the game suddenly sprung to life after a soporific first half.

Schelotto beat the offside trap to hook down a Gabriel Paletta pass over the top, but tried to steer it across for Biabiany and turned it behind his teammate.

Higuain hit the side-netting after running on to a Jorginho pass down the line. It was his last contribution, as the top scorer was surprisingly substituted to make way for Duvan Zapata. The replacement burst into the box and went down when challenged by Mirante, but was booked for simulation, which seemed very harsh. Replays do not clarify whether there was contact, even if Zapata might’ve been looking for it.

Insigne gathered at the back post from Dries Mertens unmarked and volleyed it back across the face of goal, skimming the woodwork.

Another Mertens cross from the right was turned just over the bar by a diving Zapata header, as the Belgium international transformed Napoli. Inler’s wayward strike almost turned into an assist for Insigne, while the Italy international trapped a long ball and crossed it for another Zapata header over the bar.

Parma gave Alberto Cerri his Serie A debut a few days short of his 18th birthday, one of the bright young talents on the Italian scene.


Parma: Mirante; Cassani, Paletta, Felipe, Molinaro; Acquah, Marchionni, Parolo (Munari 80); Schelotto, Palladino (Gobbi 89), Biabiany (Cerri 92)
Napoli: Reina; Henrique, Fernandez, Albiol, Ghoulam; Inler, Jorginho; Insigne, Hamsik (Pandev 81), Callejon (Mertens 68); Higuain (Duvan Zapata 68)
Ref: Bergonzi