Lorenzo Insigne’s late curler into the far top corner gave Napoli the 2-1 victory over Roma on Nicolò Zaniolo’s comeback, putting these teams in joint fifth place.
This was a head-to-head for fifth place, but both teams were coming off defeats midweek. Kostas Manolas made his comeback from the start against his former teammates, but Allan, David Ospina, Fernando Llorente and Kevin Malcuit missed out. The Giallorossi were smarting after two consecutive losses, so Paulo Fonseca transformed his side with a three-man defence. Diego Perotti sat out a ban.
Pau Lopez made his comeback after suffering a microfracture to his wrist during the lockdown and was immediately forced to make a save on fellow Spaniard Fabian Ruiz, who was sent clear by a smart Napoli passing move.
The goalkeeper had to rush off his line moments later to deny Piotr Zielinski’s control and flick, getting back on his feet to deal with the Lorenzo Insigne follow-up.
Lorenzo Pellegrini surged forward, his snapshot deflected wide for a corner by Manolas, but Napoli kept having the best chances and Callejon’s first touch let him down when sent clear by Insigne.
There was bad news for the Giallorossi, as Chris Smalling pulled up with a muscular problem in his groin and limped off to make way for Federico Fazio just 30 minutes in.
Arkadiusz Milik saw his header cannon off the crossbar, but the rebound hit Callejon and bounced back over from point-blank range. It wasn’t really a miss from Callejon, as it ricocheted off him.
Milik had another solo effort that forced a save out of Pau Lopez, but at the other end Davide Zappacosta pulled back for Pellegrini, who somehow failed to get his finish on target from 12 yards.
Straight after the restart, Insigne’s wayward cross turned into a lob that Pau Lopez had to fingertip over the bar.
Napoli finally found a way through on 55 minutes, as Mario Rui whipped in a cross from the left and Callejon came sliding in ahead of Roger Ibanez, able to turn in from close range, as it squirmed under Pau Lopez’s body.
Fabian Ruiz fired just over the bar, then Justin Kluivert horribly wasted a promising counter-attack with a poor first touch.
However, Roma got their equaliser when Dzeko sparked a counter, Mkhitaryan cut inside and placed his right-foot daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner. It went under Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s leg, which might be why Alex Meret went down a little late.
Roma unleashed their secret weapon, as Nicolò Zaniolo made his comeback for the first time since tearing his ACL in mid-January.
Mkhitaryan tested Meret again from distance, while Zielinski fired wide, but Insigne came up with a moment of magic. It was his traditional right-foot curler into the far top corner from the edge of the box, as Pau Lopez couldn’t get his fingertips to it.
Napoli were in front and fired up, but Pau Lopez kept the scoreline down by getting his hand to a Mertens angled drive, then Giovanni Di Lorenzo was offside when nodding in from the corner.
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