Juventus fought back from 3-1 down for a heart-stopping 3-3 draw at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo, after Marek Hamsik missed a penalty!
This match was rescheduled from November 6 due to flooding, but both teams had to reshuffle. Edinson Cavani missed out due to a cut ankle, so Ezequiel Lavezzi moved forward with support from Goran Pandev and Hamsik. Claudio Marchisio was suspended for Juventus, so Marcelo Estigarribia was given his first start in a new 3-5-2 system.
Stephan Lichtsteiner’s deflected cross found Mirko Vucinic in plenty of space, but he pulled the angled drive across the face of goal.
Lavezzi sprinted down the left to the by-line where he was felled by a mistimed Andrea Pirlo sliding tackle. Hamsik converted and was already well into his celebrations when the referee ordered it retaken due to encroachment. The distraction clearly affected Hamsik, who blazed the retake over the bar!
The Slovak did get his goal soon after, though, as a Lavezzi free kick was knocked down by Christian Maggio for Hamsik’s diving header from point-blank range. He was marginally offside when the free kick was first floated in, but as he only made contact in the second phase of the move, it didn’t count.
Pandev dispossessed Pirlo in midfield for a shot just about blocked by Gigi Buffon, then Lavezzi got to the by-line only for Pandev to clumsily blast wide. At the other end, Estigarribia fired at the near post rather than cross for Simone Pepe, forcing a simple Morgan De Sanctis save.
Arturo Vidal went on the counter and was tackled with great vigour by Salvatore Aronica, but the referee waved play on. The tension got to Juve, as Leonardo Bonucci and Alessandro Matri were both booked for dissent.
Napoli doubled their lead before the break, as a clearance was deflected off a Juventus player into the path of Pandev, who was quick to react and placed his shot across Buffon with his weaker right foot.
Tension was sky high, but Hamsik risked big when shoving Lichtsteiner in the back and giving a little kick when he was down. They were both booked for the scuffle that ensued.
Matri pulled one back for Juve straight after the restart. Vidal’s inspired angled through ball sliced through the Napoli defence and allowed Matri to spring the offside trap, side-footing past the on-rushing De Sanctis. It was Matri’s fifth goal in nine Serie A games against Napoli.
Matri had the ball in the net for a second time three minutes later with a sensational volley, but had already been flagged offside. Giorgio Chiellini’s cross was then deflected on to the side-netting, then Vucinic’s fierce angled drive was beaten away at the near post by De Sanctis.
However, Pandev scored his second of the game with a goal of sheer quality. He gathered with his back to goal, spun round to flick the ball up off his thigh and hit the half-volley in off the inside of the near post.
Just as they had finished celebrating, Juventus got it down to 3-2! A Vucinic cross was deflected by Matri’s diving header for Estigarribia at the back post, who brilliantly controlled with his first touch to beat De Sanctis from close range.
Moments later, De Sanctis had his palms stung by a Vucinic screamer, while Chiellini’s finish was too weak from the Montenegro man’s pull-back.
Juventus made it 3-3! Walter Gargano lost possession in midfield, Pepe went on a mazy run through the middle and rolled a right-foot snooker shot into the bottom corner.
It was wide open, as Matri was going clear when Paolo Cannavaro stood strong in the box.
Missed penalty: Hamsik 15 (N)