Marek Hamsik got the winning goal and record, but Allan and Dries Mertens were the Napoli heroes against Sampdoria.
Words: Greg Murray - @Muzza__G
Two early Sampdoria goals gave Napoli a scare, and Marco Giampaolo’s men worked hard to nullify the Azzuri’s passing game. However, two quickfire goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Hamsik ensured that all three points went to the Partenopei.
Pepe Reina – 5.5
It took two splendid set pieces to beat Reina today, who regardless will have been disappointed to concede from over 35 metres.
Elseid Hysaj – 4
A very poor performance from the Albanian, who was outmuscled, then out-skilled by Gaston Ramirez, before giving away the penalty with a rash slide tackle. Hysaj struggled against the Uruguayan all afternoon and conceded a weak corner in extra-time when he threw himself to the floor. To make matters worse, the right-back looked unusually nervous on the ball, completing just 66% of his passes, and kicking the ball against his own foot on one occasion.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 7
The defender barely put a foot wrong against Sampdoria, and could have done nothing about either of the opposition’s goals. As is expected of K2, he leads the team for both most aerial duels and most tackles.
Raul Albiol – 6
Although most of the blame for the penalty lies on Hysaj, Albiol must take some responsibility, over-committing and utterly failing in an attempted covering challenge on Ramirez. Other than that though, the veteran Spaniard dealt comfortably with Sampdoria’s offensive threat.
Mario Rui – 5
A disappointing day for both of Napoli’s full-backs saw Mario Rui sent off for a second yellow card, having made two naïve, mistimed challenges. In the player’s defence, he looked capable going forward, linking well with Insigne.
Allan – 8
An outstanding performance from the Brazilian, who timed his run well to score Napoli’s first goal in the 16th minute. The strike seemed to spark Allan into life, who made decisive runs throughout, and showed great control in the box in the build-up to his team’s winning goal.
Jorginho – 6
It was a quiet night for the newly-capped Italy international, who struggled with the intensity of the game. Giampaolo clearly planned to tactically limit Jorginho’s influence on the game by ensuring that the midfielder was allowed no time on the ball.
Marek Hamsik – 7
After scoring against Torino last weekend to draw level with Diego Maradona’s record, Napoli’s Captain struck once again to reach 116 goals for his club. Despite scoring the winner, Hamsik had a relatively minimal impact, and had a tough job in a compacted midfield.
Jose Callejon – 7
The Spaniard put in yet another, reliable, consistent performance. Callejon’s tracking back is fundamental to Maurizio Sarri’s system, allowing Insigne greater freedom. These defensive qualities were clear against Sampdoria, with the winger making countless interceptions with Napoli down to 10 men.
Dries Mertens – 8
After Sampdoria’s 2nd-minute goal, Mertens did all he could to drag Napoli level, as the Belgian ace showed great physicality to win the ball before playing a smart pass for Allan’s goal. Conceding yet again did little to damage the former winger’s perseverance, and it didn’t take long until an inventive flick set up Insigne to score. With the game in the balance, Mertens was yet again decisive, running off Allan to fire in a cross for Hamsik to finish at point-blank range.
Lorenzo Insigne – 7
An instinctive strike from the Napoli native drew Sarri’s side level after going behind for a second time. As always, Insigne looked dangerous on the ball, but struggled with Sampdoria’s offside trap on a number of occasions.
Amadou Diawara - 5
Diawara replaced Jorginho early in the second half, to bring more physicality to the Napoli midfield. The Guinean suffered with the same problems as his predecessor, and was guilty of losing possession cheaply.
Piotr Zielinski – 5
The young midfielder replaced Napoli Captain to add some fresh legs in the middle of the park.
Christian Maggio – N/A
Came on late on to shore up the defence after Rui’s red card.
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