SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 2 - 25 Aug 2018 (19.30 UK)
Napoli 3 - 2 Milan
Bonaventura 15 (M), Calabria 49 (M), Zielinski 53, 67 (N), Mertens 80 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Napoli completed an extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down to beat Milan 3-2 in under 30 minutes with Piotr Zielinski’s brace and Dries Mertens.

See how it all unfolded on the LIVEBLOG.

This was the Rossoneri’s season debut, as the Week 1 fixture with Genoa was rescheduled to October 31 as a sign of respect after the Ponte Morandi tragedy. This meant Gonzalo Higuain made his first competitive appearance in his old hunting ground, while Hakan Calhanoglu was suspended, so Fabio Borini completed the trident attack. Mateo Musacchio was the surprise pick in his first partnership with new captain Alessio Romagnoli. David Ospina got his Partenopei debut, as Alex Meret was injured with Orestis Karnezis not entirely convincing in the 2-1 win at Lazio. Arkadiusz Milik was again picked rather than Dries Mertens.

Pepe Reina returned to the San Paolo for the first time and was given a warm welcome by the crowd.

Lorenzo Insigne mis-kicked a lob on the counter, but Milan scored with their first genuine opportunity. Borini at full stretch knocked down a long ball for Jack Bonaventura’s scissor-kick strike from just inside the box off the outside of his right boot. It took Ospina by surprise and flew into the far top corner.

Just like against Lazio, Napoli went behind to an early goal and had to find their way back. Jose Callejon drilled just wide and Napoli had penalty appeals for a collision between Davide Calabria and Mario Rui, but the referee awarded a foul against the Portugal international for backing into his marker.

On the stroke of half-time, Gianluigi Donnarumma palmed a rising Milik strike out of the near top corner.

Instead, Milan doubled their lead after the restart. Suso showed great balance to control a long ball from Lucas Biglia and knock it back to Davide Calabria, whose angled drive was low into the far bottom corner.

However, Biglia was caught in possession moments later and Zielinski drilled in from just inside the box to pull one back for Napoli.

They almost completed the comeback 60 seconds later, Insigne firing inches wide of the near post with Donnarumma beaten, and Gennaro Gattuso reacted by giving Tiemoue Bakayoko his debut for Biglia.

Zielinski should’ve made it a brace, missing a sitter from a very promising position, but he did complete the job eventually. A corner was cleared to the edge of the area for the Poland international’s hopeful volley and Donnarumma got a touch to it, but not enough.

Diego Laxalt made his Rossoneri debut and Mario Rui went off injured.

Napoli managed to turn it all around from 2-0 down to 3-2 up, as Allan got down the right, flashed a ball across the face of goal to find substitute Mertens totally unmarked to tap in from a tight angle at the far post. He steered the ball back across into the far top corner, as Napoli went from 0-2 to 3-2 in under half an hour.

Gonzalo Higuain blasted into the stands from a promising position and the confidence evaporated from the Rossoneri. In fact, only a Donnarumma save in stoppages prevented Insigne making it 4-2 after a give-and-go with Mertens.

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Napoli: Ospina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui (Luperto 73); Allan, Hamsik (Mertens 63), Zielinski (Diawara 72); Callejon, Milik, Insigne
Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia (Bakayoko 58), Bonaventura (Cutrone 81); Suso, Higuain, Borini (Laxalt 70)
Ref: Doveri