SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 15 - 8 Dec 2018 (14.00 UK)
Napoli 4 - 0
Zielinski 7 (N), Ounas 40 (N), Milik 68, 85 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Napoli enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 victory over Frosinone, which saw Faouzi Ghoulam’s return, Alex Meret’s debut, an Arkadiusz Milik brace and a star born in Adam Ounas.

See how the game unfolded on the LIVEBLOG.

The Partenopei took the opportunity to keep the gap at the top of the table at eight points and extend a six-point lead over Inter, as the Nerazzurri lost the Derby d’Italia last night. Raul Albiol and Simone Verdi missed out, but Carlo Ancelotti made massive changes ahead of the Champions League decider with Liverpool, including the debut for Alex Meret. The 21-year-old goalkeeper cost €22m plus bonuses from Udinese over the summer, but broke a bone in his arm during his second training session and then an old shoulder issue flared up. Faouzi Ghoulam made his comeback 402 days after rupturing his ACL in November 2017.

Frosinone were on a strong period of form, losing just one of their previous six Serie A games, and were eager to cause an upset at the Stadio San Paolo. Camillo Ciano and Raffaele Maiello returned to face the club where they spent their youth, but Federico Dionisi, Emil Hallfredsson and Luca Paganini were on the treatment table.

It took just seven minutes to break the deadlock, as a corner was not cleared effectively and Piotr Zielinski’s daisy-cutter of an angled drive flew into the far bottom corner from just inside the area.

A cross flew just past Milik and then Ghoulam tried to curl in directly from the penalty spot, forcing Marco Sportiello into a fingertip save.

Raffaele Maiello spotted Meret off his line and attempted a lob from midfield, but the debutant back-pedalled to block under the bar.

Adam Ounas was looking lively with some smart twists and turns, but doubled Napoli’s lead with a ferocious left-foot strike from 25 metres into the near top corner.

It was almost 3-0 in first half stoppages, but Capuano flung himself in the way of an Arkadiusz Milik half-volley to deflect it wide.

Straight after the restart, there were another two golden opportunities for Napoli, as first Sportiello got down for a one-handed save on Lorenzo Insigne’s low cross-shot for Milik, then Ghoulam was sent clear by Ounas only to clip the crossbar from close range.

Ounas was on inspirational form, his slide-rule pass releasing Insigne for a shot with the inside of the right boot, parried at the near post by Sportiello’s trailing leg.

He was comfortably Man of the Match and Ounas forced another difficult Sportiello save with a left-foot strike, but from the resulting corner, Ghoulam curled the set play on to the head of Milik at the near post. It was surprisingly the first headed Serie A goal of the season for Napoli.

Ounas received a standing ovation as he went off the field, giving Amin Younes his long-awaited Napoli debut. Meret almost had his debut ruined by a misunderstanding with Sebastiano Luperto, as they didn’t communicate and the header whistled wide of an open goal.

Ghoulam provided another assist in the final minutes for Milik, his cross-shot finding the Poland international unmarked, having sprung the offside trap at the back post.

It was almost a Milik hat-trick on an assist rolled across from Younes, but the centre-forward slipped at the crucial moment and ballooned over the bar.

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Napoli: Meret; Hysaj, Luperto, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Ounas (Younes 73), Allan, Hamsik (Diawara 80), Zielinski; Milik, Insigne (Rog 75)
: Sportiello; Goldaniga, Ariaudo, Capuano; Zampano (Ghiglione 71), Chibsah, Maiello (Soddimo 76), Cassata, Beghetto; Campbell, Pinamonti (Ciano 60)
Ref: Manganiello