Gonzalo Higuain scored one and set up another as Napoli beat Juventus 2-1, but Lorenzo Insigne was injured.
This was a must-win game for both sides, who stuttered so far this season and were sliding down the standings. The Bianconeri missed Stephan Lichtsteiner, Claudio Marchisio, Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira, while Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado were rested.
In the opening minute Hernanes performed a crucial tackle on Lorenzo Insigne in the box, while Simone Zaza was flagged offside when lobbing Pepe Reina.
Reina got down quickly to save Zaza’s angled drive one-handed after a smart Paulo Dybala through ball. Faouzi Ghoulam had penalty appeals, but the low cross struck Leonardo Bonucci’s foot first and ricocheted on to his hand, so could not be considered voluntary.
Napoli broke through with a well-worked goal, as Insigne played a neat one-two with Gonzalo Higuain before passing it into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was the perfect way to mark his 100th Serie A appearance.
Giorgio Chiellini crucially intercepted a Jose Callejon knock-back for Higuain on Insigne’s inspired pass, but goalscorer Insigne pulled up with a knee problem and had to be substituted with Dries Mertens.
On the stroke of half-time, Buffon beat away a Ghoulam cross and Jose Callejon ballooned the follow-up off target.
It was end-to-end stuff, as first Reina desperately blocked Zaza after a defensive error, then on the counter Mertens drilled across the face of goal when he should’ve passed to Allan.
A deflected Mertens effort looped on to the roof of the net and Buffon punched away a Higuain snapshot.
Napoli doubled their lead when Higuain intercepted a poor Hernanes midfield pass and burst forward, his angled drive too powerful for Buffon to keep out as it squirmed under his arm.
However, the Partenopei were perhaps still celebrating when Juve grabbed one back at the other end, a cross finding Mario Lemina relatively unmarked at the back post. It was the Frenchman’s first goal and he scored it against one of the clubs that tried to sign him from Olympique Marseille this summer.
Alvaro Morata came on and immediately curled just wide of the far post, while Pogba nodded Simone Padoin’s cross off target.
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