Ciro Immobile pounced on a disastrous David Ospina error to give Lazio their historic 10th consecutive Serie A victory, as Napoli were denied by the woodwork.
The Aquile were seeking an all-time club record 10th consecutive Serie A victory and brimming with confidence also thanks to beating Juventus 3-1 for the Supercoppa Italiana last month. On the other hand, the Partenopei were struggling badly, losing two of Gennaro Gattuso’s three games in charge and sitting in eighth place.
Marco Parolo sat out a ban, although Luis Alberto and Lucas Leiva returned from suspension, with Joaquin Correa not even fit for the bench. The visitors were forced to reshuffle, making the trip without Alex Meret, Kalidou Koulibaly, Nikola Maksimovic, Dries Mertens, Faouzi Ghoulam, Amin Younes and Kevin Malcuit.
Napoli had won their last six editions of this fixture and won five Serie A meetings in a row with Lazio, but their form going in made a repeat of that unlikely. The atmosphere was spectacular, as the hosts had choreography and video of their legends to mark 120 years since the club’s foundation.
Mario Rui made a decisive early block on Immobile after a quick one-two with Caicedo, Kostas Manolas also shepherding the Luis Alberto through ball to ensure Immobile couldn’t finish it off.
Fabian Ruiz was caught napping in his own penalty area by Caicedo, but managed to get the block in. Lorenzo Insigne spotted Thomas Strakosha off his line and tried to curl a free kick directly into the far top corner, forcing a fingertip save.
Allan had a wonderful solo effort riding two tackles to then fire over the bar, but Lazio had a series of great chances approaching half-time.
Ospina was alert to smother the Sergej Milinkovic-Savic snapshot after an impressive team move, then moments later the acrobatic Mario Rui clearance turned into an accidental assist for Milinkovic, his scuffed volley kept out by a combination of Ospina’s fingertips and Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s head.
Luis Alberto’s ferocious strike was straight at Ospina and after the restart Immobile went down in the box after running into Fabian Ruiz.
The second half saw both teams step up the tempo and create more chances. Luis Alberto’s strike was charged down by a sliding Manolas block and Arkadiusz Milik’s first touch let him down when set up by Piotr Zielinski.
Danilo Cataldi replaced Caicedo, as Milinkovic-Savic moved into a more advanced role. However, Napoli had their best chance of the game so far on 68 minutes, as Piotr Zielinski bent a shot with his right boot and it went around Strakosha to bounce off the inside of the far post.
Insigne also threatened with a solo run, forcing Strakosha to get down quickly for a one-handed save on the low drive.
The deadlock was broken on 83 minutes thanks to Napoli shooting themselves in the foot yet again, as they have done so many times this season.
Ospina was caught in possession on a back-pass, tried to dribble Immobile and failed, so the striker managed to swerve in a shot from a tight angle, despite Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s attempted clearance.
It was wide open in the closing stages, as Arkadiusz Milik and Immobile forced saves, the toughest by far Insigne’s volley from the edge of the box in stoppages.
Fernando Llorente had penalty appeals for his late header, but it clearly struck Senad Lulic on the face, not the arm.
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