SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 20 - 18 Jan 2020 (19.45 UK)
Napoli 0 - 2 Fiorentina
Chiesa 26 (F), Vlahovic 74 (F)
Stadio San Paolo

Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic scored spectacular goals to confirm Fiorentina are back in business, but Napoli suffered a third consecutive Serie A defeat.

The Partenopei have now lost four of their five Serie A games with Gennaro Gattuso on the bench, and were again forced to reshuffle in defence. Mario Rui was suspended, on top of injuries to Kalidou Koulibaly, Nikola Maksimovic, Faouzi Ghoulam, Dries Mertens and Kevin Malcuit. New signings Diego Demme and Stanislav Lobotka were on the bench. The Viola started Patrick Cutrone and Federico Chiesa together for the first time, with only Franck Ribery out of action, having seemingly turned a corner under Beppe Iachini.

Gaetano Castrovilli really should’ve put Fiorentina ahead within 10 minutes, but perhaps didn’t expect Pol Lirola’s cross to go past everyone and it practically bounced wide off his shin from six yards.

At the other end, Arkadiusz Milik acrobatically volleyed a Jose Callejon ball over the top, forcing a tricky Bartlomiej Dragowski save at the near post.  

There was a VAR on-field check for a potential Napoli handball in the box, but the referee ruled Sebastiano Luperto’s header had grazed Allan’s head and fingertips when he was facing the other way, so it could not possibly have been handball.

Martin Caceres made an acrobatic interception to stop the ball floating over the top for Callejon, but it was Fiorentina who took the lead at the end of a wonderful team move.

A series of passes in the build-up eventually saw Marco Benassi knock Castrovilli’s floated ball back for Chiesa to control and toe-poke into the far bottom corner from 12 yards.

Napoli tried to fight back, Piotr Zielinski’s rocket flashing just wide, then at the other end David Ospina flapped a Castrovilli header out from under the bar, while Cutrone was offside when he smashed a ferocious finish between Ospina and the near post.

Callejon missed an absolute sitter, as he sprung the offside trap on an Insigne pass only to turn the free header wide.

Ospina spilled a Benassi shot and Fiorentina seemed more comfortable on the ball as the half went on, much to the irritation of the crowd.

After the restart, Insigne saw his snapshot clip the outside of the upright with Dragowski well beaten.

Fiorentina also threatened a second, as Castrovilli finked a fantastic pass over the top for Chiesa to spring the offside trap, his volley well saved by Ospina one-on-one.

Diego Demme made his Serie A debut, but Allan went straight down the tunnel after the substitution, clearly unhappy, and the former RB Leipzig midfielder was booked within 10 minutes.

Napoli kept more of the ball, but without any real pace or incision, so Fiorentina doubled their lead with a stunner from substitute Dusan Vlahovic. A cross-field pass from Chiesa was knocked down by Pol Lirola, Vlahovic cut back inside and curled a wonderful left-foot finish into the far bottom corner.

Fernando Llorente was another desperate move off the bench, his header flashing wide, as Napoli fell to a third consecutive Serie A defeat for the first time since April 2012. Incredibly, the Partenopei have won just one of their last 12 league matches.

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Napoli: Ospina; Hysaj, Manolas, Di Lorenzo, Luperto; Allan (Demme 56), Fabian Ruiz, Zielinski (Lozano 63); Callejon (Llorente 75), Milik, Insigne
Fiorentina: Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Caceres; Lirola, Benassi, Pulgar, Castrovilli, Dalbert (Ceccherini 87); Chiesa (Sottil 77), Cutrone (Vlahovic 66)
Ref: Pasqua