Napoli got their first Europa League victory of the season thanks to a deflected Matteo Politano strike to beat Real Sociedad, but Victor Osimhen saw red.
The Partenopei were torn between squad rotation and needing to get back on track in the Europa League after their shock opening 1-0 home defeat to AZ Alkmaar. Stanislav Lobotka was given a new role in the trio supporting Andrea Petagna, as the likes of Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen were rested. Asier Illaramendi and Joseba Zaldua missed out for the hosts, with Adnan Januzaj only ready for the bench.
Lorenzo Insigne pounced on a poor goal kick, nutmegged a defender and flashed his angled drive across the face of goal.
Insigne also sparked another great move, which culminated in Mario Rui’s dinked finish over the goalkeeper, but wide of the far post on Andrea Petagna’s assist.
There was bad news, though, as Insigne pulled up with a recurrence of his thigh strain and immediately asked to make way for Hirving Lozano.
This changed the momentum of the game and Real Sociedad started to take control, particularly in midfield. Mikel Merino failed to make the most of a great cross from the right, his header going over the bar.
It remained a sluggish encounter, but the deadlock was broken by a moment of magic and luck, as Matteo Politano hit a rocket from 20 metres and it took a deflection off a defender to leave Alejandro Remiro rooted to the spot.
Gennaro Gattuso was not satisfied and introduced Victor Osimhen and Dries Mertens for the final half-hour. Sociedad were also shaken into action and David Ospina needed a great one-handed save on Portugues at the near post, set up by David Silva from 12 yards.
Osimhen had the ball in the net on 86 minutes, but it was disallowed, because Mario Rui slipped on the free kick and touched it with both feet, effectively neutralising the set play. It was similar to an incident that happened with Carlos Bacca for Milan when he slipped on a penalty.
Nacho Monreal’s header was charged down and the Willian Jose rebound well held by David Ospina.
Osimhen’s night got even worse when he was shown a second yellow card for jumping with elbow raised on Le Normand. Both bookings were for naïve challenges he could’ve avoided, but it means he’ll be suspended for the next Europa League match.
Real Sociedad 0-1 Napoli
Politano 55 (N)
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel (Barrenetxea 79), Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal; Merino (Zubimendi 79), Guevara, David Silva; Portugues (Bautista 67), Isak (Willian Jose 67), Oyarzabal
Napoli: Ospina; Hysaj, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Demme (Fabian Ruiz 89), Bakayoko; Politano (Di Lorenzo 69), Lobotka (Mertens 60), Insigne (Lozano 22); Petagna (Osimhen 60)
Ref: Pawson (ENG)
Sent off: Osimhen 92 (N)