Thursday January 21 2021
Italian Super Cup Final: a lesson for Juve and Napoli

The Italian Super Cup Final could have gone either way and Lorenzo Bettoni believes both Juventus and Napoli learned an important lesson ahead of the decisive part of the season.

Upon the arrival of the team buses at the Mapei Stadium, Napoli fans in Reggio Emilia reminded us of how football used to be before the pandemic, lighting smoke bombs to welcome the Azzurri at the venue and, less remarkably, abusing Juventus players and staff on their way to the stadium.

After the final whistle, it was Giorgio Chiellini who eventually lifted the first trophy of the season in Italy as Juventus beat Napoli 2-0 to claim the Italian Supercup. The Old Lady have now won at least a piece of silverware in each one of the last 10 campaigns.

Napoli and Juventus came from two very different games over the previous weekend. Napoli had humiliated Fiorentina with a 6-0 win at home, while Juventus’ 2-0 defeat at Inter could have undermined the Old Lady’s confidence, not only for the result itself, but especially because they never gave the feeling they could play on a par with the Nerazzurri.

Andrea Pirlo made Allegri-esque changes against the Azzurri as he picked a classic 4-3-3 shape for the first time this term. Alvaro Morata started on the bench, with Cristiano Ronaldo who was the sole striker in a Bianconeri attacking trident completed by Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski.

The former midfielder put aside a three-man defence as he could rely on Juan Cuadrado who had recovered from COVID hours before the game. The Colombian started as right-back, with Danilo on the other side of the pitch and Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in centre defence.

Napoli, however, were the better side in the first half. The Azzurri had one of their best goal scoring opportunities, when the MOTM Wojciech Szczęsny denied a Hirving Lozano header from point-blank range.

The Old Lady did little to create troubles for Napoli. Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas frustrated any attempt from Ronaldo and Kulusevski who, at times, would swap his position with CR7 playing as a sole striker, while Federico Chiesa did not seem at ease on the left.

The former Fiorentina player picked up an ankle injury in the first half and was replaced with Federico Bernardeschi during the break.

Juventus did nothing special to win the game, but it is safe to say the work rate from their midfielders in the second half, helped the Old Lady to prevail.

Tiemoue Bakayoko failed to have any impact, while Piotr Zielinski showed glimpse of his quality in the first half, but failed to have the same consistency over 90 minutes and his performance, somehow, summed up Napoli’s game.

Juventus took the lead from a corner kick, with Cristiano Ronaldo who was in the right place at the right time to score his 84th Juventus goal.

With Matthijs de Ligt, Alex Sandro, Merih Demiral and Paulo Dybala all out of action, Pirlo made a wise use of substitutions, but it was Dries Mertens, who came off the bench for Napoli in the second half, who shifted the balance and earned a penalty kick that Lorenzo Insigne fluffed after 80 minutes. The Napoli captain left the pitch in tears.

Chucky Lozano had another great chance during the stoppage time, but his deflected cross was once again saved by a superb Szczesny with the Old Lady eventually winning game with a surgical counter-attack finalised by Alvaro Morata.

Overall, Napoli weren’t bad, but somehow failed to take the cup under the Vesuvius. That is no coincidence.


The old saying goes that Juventus never mess up two games in a row and the Mapei Stadium clash proved it once again true.

Arthur added more quality to the Juventus midfield, but the Bianconeri still lack finesse in the middle of the pitch. They won the game because they could make the most of the opportunities they created and because of superior technical and mental qualities of their soloists.

Napoli probably had the best chances throughout the 90 minutes, but if you don’t lift the cup at the end of the match, it eventually comes more a vice rather than a virtue.

Both sides have lacked consistency so far this season and it is no coincidence they are adrift of Inter and Milan in the Serie A table.

Juventus won three Leagues games in a row for the first time this season in January, while Napoli alternated brilliant victories against big sides such as Roma and Atalanta, with disappointing and unexpected defeats against the so-called ‘smaller’ sides like Spezia and Sassuolo and failed to impress against Inter and Milan who beat Rino Gattuso’s side in November and December.

It would be unfair to not mention the Azzurri have been without their main strikers Victor Osimhen and Dries Mertens during the last month of action. But Juventus have had notable absentees too in De Ligt, Alex Sandro and Dybala.

Juventus lost against Inter this season, but beat Milan at San Siro and picked up draws against Atalanta, Lazio and Roma. Yet again, the Old Lady’s path has been affected by draws against clubs like Crotone and Benevento.

Every team in the world must cope with a high number of injuries due to a fixture list which this season is as busy as ever and, of course, with COVID cases that can change the coaches’ tactical plans from one day to another.

For all these reasons, it is even more important to win ugly in the current campaign, because it won’t be always possible to match victories with convincing performances.

Juventus proved they can still do it, Napoli not quite.

With six clubs battling it out for the first four spots, both Juve and Napoli should bear in mind the gap between the title contenders. The race for a Champions League place is also as tight as ever in Serie A this season.

Both sides, however, still have a chance to be credible title contenders this season if they start winning games consistently and, sometimes, even undeservedly.

They will once again face each other in less than a month in their first Serie A meeting this season after the Allianz Stadium clash on October 4 was rescheduled amid controversy.  

On paper, they should play on February 13 the game of the ‘girone di ritorno’ at the Stadio Maradona before the one of the ‘girone d’andata’ at the Allianz.

The FIGC, however, could decide to play the upcoming clash in Turin to stick to the existing fixture list, but a final decision has yet to be taken.  

Surely, both Napoli and Juventus learned the end justifies the means and whether they’ll play the next game in Turin or Naples, it will be once again crucial to make the most of every little chance they have, even without dominating the game.

Details are always important in football, this season even more.


Have your say...
Napoli looks miserable without strong striker like Milik.
on the 27th January, 2021 at 8:16pm
@juve fan I agree to disagree......I never said we have world class players....we have a good first class we have 3 at the moment.....donnarumma,Theo,and ibra.

As for calhanoglu juve are trying to buy him and if he goes to juve he will be a starter. Man Utd are trying as can’t get much higher then this 2 clubs.

As for calabria you said 5 years ago,the past is gone we are talking about now....right now calabria would fit in any team that’s how much he has improved.
on the 25th January, 2021 at 3:53pm
Calabria is also very average and comparing to Danilo isn’t much of a win. Calabria wouldn’t even have made our bench 5 years ago. Our squad has dropped off lots due to bad signings and overrated players the last few years. But we have the money and pull to turn that around. The only squad that is better as much as I hate to say, is inter who have by far the best team in Italy at the moment, led by the best young Italians around. I think our game vs you and vs them shows that
on the 24th January, 2021 at 11:15pm
@kledi and vik - agree to disagree. Think most of the players you mention are in good form, not world class players. Where was calhagnoglu last season? He was rubbish. Playing well at the moment, but being a free agent soon, if he was really that good, why aren’t all clubs lining up to sign him? Because he isn’t that good. Kessie again been rubbish for years. Playing better now but is it going to last? Bennacer arguments clearly outlined on other pages lol.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 11:12pm
Leao probably also have the potential to be world class, and also Arthur, but he came in a really bad state, as he was forced out of his favourite club, but he was good against Napoli & great today. Bentancur seems more comfortable now in this Pirlo system. So some of our players seems to be hitting form, and you are compairing them against alot of Milan players who have been in good form for a while now. So obviously some of those Milan players will look like a better pick right now.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 8:30pm
@Kledi I think players like Chiesa, Kulusevski, de ligt & Dybala have the potential to be far beyond the potential of any Milan player except for Donnaruma. He probably have the potential to be world class like those juve players. You then compair Szczesny & Donnaruma, and obviously everyone thinking Szczesny or Donnaruma will pick Donnaruma, But because of stuff like age & future potential etc, but i'm sure Szczesny has been just as good if not better than Donnaruma this season.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 7:48pm
@juve fan the only players I would get from juve to complete our team is chiesa....Kulusevski....and de light ....the rest keep them we don’t need them..../

By the way I’m not saying Milan is a better team then juve......Milan’s first eleven are very good when it comes to the squad juve are by far the better team.

I guarantee you if Pirlo had donnaruma,Calabria,Theo,calhanoglu,kessie,benacer,he will start them in the first eleven.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 5:20pm
@juve fan lol.juve are trying to buy for kessie he is better then your bentancur.....Calhanoglu is better then rabiott or Ramsey....and I will choose bennacer over Arthur....Calabria better then Danilo Theo better then Cuadrado or Alex Sandro...Chiesa better then rebic....Kulusevski better then castiello......donnarumma is better then sechezney....ronaldo and ibra i don’t want to choose ronaldo scores more but ibra helps the whole team.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 5:05pm
@Juve man

" lol only Donna and Theo have any chance"

ANY chance lol.. and I thought I was biased with Milan... you're absurd.
on the 24th January, 2021 at 7:27am
@Juve man

"Kessie and calhagnoglu have been average at best for you,

Calhanoglu is with Bruno from Man U the midfielder with best stats in Europe these season if im not misstaken (in position played) read more about it here. Here is a graph companioning them both
on the 24th January, 2021 at 7:26am

Those aint no tears thats truth u should change ur title to 1996 last ucl. Before u crticize milan look back as they r truly italys dynasty def not ur trash team which is becoming more trash and toxic to the italian system as they carry on. To call juve boss in italy and get slapped around europe they way they do is insulting to itlalians and all italian soccer fans no truth and juve fams blind to it.
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 10:54pm
I only watched the second half so I can't judge the entire game. But if Napoli were better during the first half, then overall I think the game could have gone either way. The penalty was technically correct (nothing to say about it) but it's really a kind of very annoying penalty. I'm doing my best to not say this as a biased Juve-fan, I sincerely dislike this kind of penalties.

@Anonymous. It's comments like your that make the victories infinitely more enjoyable. More please =)
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 8:56pm
@Anonymous 2:22am, please spare your tears when posting that trash. lol
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 12:05pm
@Juve man Yeah they actually did when they signed Bonucci. The season had not even started, and they where shouting WE ARE BACK. Milan & Inter are always premature when it come to celebrating.
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 10:45am
Napoli not impressed against Inter? I watched the game and Inter is lucky not to loss 3-0
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 3:34am
Juve suck and Ronaldo got lucky, it was an off night for Napoli. At best this all juve will win this season a garbage team with garbage players highlighted by puppet journalist writing about how great they are and yet fail every year other then domestically which is also questionable. I guess they have to justify their 207 million dollar payroll. Napoli will get them next time it was just an off day juve fans don't get ahead of urselves.
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 2:22am
@kledi - lol only Donna and Theo have any chance. Ibra gonna replace Ronaldo? Because we wouldn’t play with both. Kessie and calhagnoglu have been average at best for you, recently doing better but probably more to do with being in form than skill!! Milan would be celebrating in the streets if they signed Any of our starters. With an experienced coach we would be doing better, and don’t get me started on pioli the ultimate flop
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 2:18am
@ Viktor @ Juliano- Mertens comes at McKinney from behind and throws his body into him as he is attempting to clear the ball.... Weston never even seen him !!! If anything, it should be a foul against Dries, as he never had the ball. If this was awarded to Juve, I wouldn't have been happy either, these ridiculous penalty calls and handballs where the player has no chance at stopping the ball from hitting their arms is unreal. Some of these rules are too literal....
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 1:36am
@Kledi, sorry they wont make it into Juve's starting 11. The only reason Milan on top is because these mediocre players listen to their coach, play with great humility and right determination to win. It resembles Juve 2011 when they won Scudetto with mediocre players like Estigarribia, Matri, Vucinic, Licchsteiner, etc. You can say as you please about me, i never care about it.
on the 23rd January, 2021 at 1:26am
As i have said often on this blogsite,finishing is the most difficult, most important aspect of the game. What is the difference between players like Ronaldo and your average footballer;Finishing when given the opportunity to score. It is not only a physical gift but a mental one as well. How often have you seen players miss from close to the net or stike it directly at the goaltender.Too countless to mention.
Juve scored when Ronaldo had the chance and Napoli didn't. Confidence+skill= Success
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 10:14pm
Napoli did nothing in the 1st half and not enough in the second. Juve did just enough to keep possession throughout the game but weren't effective in threatening Napoli's goal. The disconnect between the mids and forwards remains mind boggling. That pretty much summed up how the game was played and it was a weak display from both teams imo.
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 8:10pm
Napoli make me mad sometimes in one match they look world beaters in next one they look useless they only had one chance in first half the penalty and that’s it....juve didn’t have to many chances but they looked very comfortable....say what ever you want juve are a machine.

@1985 you say mediocre milan but in my view kessie,Calhanoglu,Ibrahimovic,Kjaer Calabria,Theo and Bennacer would play in juves first eleven.if that’s what you call mediocre then you don’t know anything about football.
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 7:18pm
Very fair and accurate analysis of the game. Vinni M, if that wasn't a penalty then tell us what is? It could have gone either way but Juventus just edged it this time.
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 10:42am
@Anonymous: LOL - I have to agree with you on that one. I watched the game with a friend (I'm a juventino, he's a Napoli supporter), and we both agree that the text here on FI and the actual game we watched seem to have taken place on different planets ;-)
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 9:33am
@giuseppe, never said Juventus didn't deserve to win the game. I said it could have gone either way, which is true because Napoli had three big chances to score. You can't ignore it when you analyse the game. Pirlo did the right things, but I don't think Juventus have solved all their problems with this victory.
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 8:39am
@Vinni M

"nd a ridiculous penalty call was fully undeserved."

Seriously?? Mckinney completely kicked Mertens in the box, like so obvious? How can you can that fully undeserved ?
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 8:09am
I'm so glad Juve won this cup. It's a proof that Juve still the boss in Italy. It's double reward because I think Juve players learned an important lesson that to win, you must play with determination. If your opponent run fast, then you must run faster than him. Run like crazy if you must. That's what they did in the game, that's why they win. That's what mediocre Milan do to be on top ATM, that's what mediocre Juve did to beat Milan's Allegri in 2011. Determination...
on the 22nd January, 2021 at 5:34am
Good article and a pretty accurate reflection of the match. Juventus just about edged it and deserved their victory.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 9:30pm
We played 4-4-2 when defending. Morphed into different tactics during attack. First chance was Danilo, but it was called off for offside, but he was onside. So if he scored VAR would have changed it. Juventus started the 2nd half best with a Bernardeschi chance after a min. Then Ronaldo almost scored on an open goal after getting to the ball before Ospina. Manolas almost scored an own goal, and Juve dominated most if not all stats.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 9:09pm
Utterly pointless article that amounts to saying nothing except winning ugly is good. I saw a much improved Juve and a very poor Napoli who deserved to lose but reading this article makes it sound like Juve stole it, which they really didn’t. In fact Napoli almost got a most undeserved foothold from a very unlucky penalty concession. Was waiting for a feature section from FI on the final and it’s likely influence on the season and beyond - I still am.
on the 21st January, 2021 at 8:33pm

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