SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 29 - 31 Mar 2019 (14.00 UK)
Roma 1 - 4 Napoli
Milik 2 (N), Perotti pen 45+3 (R), Mertens 49 (N), Verdi 54 (N), Younes 81 (N)
Stadio Olimpico

Napoli humiliated Roma at the Stadio Olimpico with a 4-1 thrashing inspired by Dries Mertens, Arkadiusz Milik and Simone Verdi.

The Derby del Sole was a big game between fifth and second, as the Giallorossi knew a win would put them within a point of Milan in fourth. Alessandro Florenzi, Stephan El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini were injured with Nicolò Zaniolo suffering from a stomach bug, so Claudio Ranieri moved to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Piotr Zielinski sat out a ban for Napoli, who missed Lorenzo Insigne, Raul Albiol, Amadou Diawara, Faouzi Ghoulam, Vlad Chiriches and David Ospina.

It was the perfect start for the visitors, because within two minutes Arkadiusz Milik had put them in front. It was a divine dinked assist over the defence from Simone Verdi, Milik controlled with his right heel on the turn and smashed into the roof of the net with his left boot.

Steven Nzonzi was allowed a free header from 12 yards, but turned it well wide relatively undisturbed on Bryan Cristante’s cross. Kalidou Koulibaly had to charge down a Cristante shot and Roma wasted some promising moves, but Robin Olsen had to parry Verdi’s strike from point-blank range after great work from Dries Mertens.

Milik put the ball in the back of the net when rolled across by Mertens, but it was disallowed for the tightest of offside calls, as the Pole had half a boot over.

Napoli failed to take their chances and were caught on the stroke of half-time, as Nzonzi knocked down a cross for Schick, who anticipated Alex Meret and was brought down in the six-yard box. Diego Perotti converted to draw Roma level against the run of play.

It was just a blip, because Napoli restored their advantage at the dawn of the second half. Mertens saw a shot charged down, Callejon rolled it back across the six-yard box – somehow squirming under Olsen’s stomach – for Mertens to tap in at the back post.

Milik almost added another moments later on a Mertens assist, but Federico Fazio got the decisive block. It was only a warning, because Napoli did finish off a counter with Fabian Ruiz rolling across from the left for Verdi to control and shoot from 12 yards.

Mertens and Elseid Hysaj both limped off and Olsen flew to palm a Milik free kick round the near post, as it went up and over the wall.

Roma should’ve pulled one back when Meret had his gloves stung by a Cristante strike, but Nzonzi’s header bounced off the crossbar on the rebound.

Kostas Manolas needed a decisive interception to stop Adam Ounas and Callejon setting up Milik to tap in at the back post. There was another lack of communication at the back on a set play for Napoli’s fourth goal, as substitute Amin Younes rode a tackle to cut inside and bundle it over the line.

This is the first time Roma had conceded four on home turf in all competition since Bayern Munich in October 2014.

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Roma: Olsen; Santon, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Nzonzi, De Rossi (Kluivert 82); Schick (Zaniolo 62), Cristante, Perotti (Cengiz Under 82); Dzeko
Napoli: Meret; Hysaj (Malcuit 68), Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Callejon, Allan, Fabian Ruiz, Verdi (Younes 74); Mertens (Ounas 58), Milik
Ref: Calvarese