SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 24 - 7 Feb 2016 (14.00 UK)
Napoli 1 - 0
Higuain pen 69 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Napoli made history with their eighth consecutive victory, Gonzalo Higuain 24 goals in 24 games, squeezing past 10-man Carpi.

The Partenopei had already equalled the club record of seven straight wins set in 1988, so another would make history. Carpi had lost only once in 2016, to a last-gasp moment of Mauro Zarate magic against Fiorentina midweek, but missed Emanuel Suagher, Lorenzo Lollo and Roberto Gagliolo. Mirko Valdifiori stepped in for suspended Jorginho.

Before kick-off the fans held up print-outs of Kalidou Koulibaly’s smiling face as a sign of solidarity after he was racially abused by Lazio supporters midweek.

Gonzalo Higuain had never scored against Carpi, but his very early shot across the face of goal was fingertipped away by Vid Belec, and another attempt hit the side-netting.

Carpi lost Lorenzo Pasciuti to injury and Jose Callejon had penalty appeals for a very obvious Sabelli shirt-tug. The Spaniard also turned a couple of headers and angled drive off target.

Lorenzo Insigne’s spectacular volley was not far off target from the tightest of angles.

Callejon was understandably angry after the restart when he put the ball in the back of the net, flicking on a ball over the top, when he was incorrectly ruled offside. It seemed a valid goal for Napoli.

Belec beat away another Higuain snapshot and Carpi went down to 10 men in controversial circumstances. Paolo Bianco received a second yellow card, but it seemed more Cristian Zaccardo’s foul than his on Insigne.

The referee was having a nightmare, but even he couldn’t miss the obvious two-handed rugby tackle from Fabio Daprela’ on Koulibaly. Higuain stepped up and converted for his 24th goal in 24 Serie A games, finding the net for the sixth round in a row.

Insigne turned just over, but so did Kevin Lasagna, as 10-man Carpi did not give in.

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Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Valdifiori, Hamsik; Callejon (Mertens 62), Higuain (Gabbiadini 82), Insigne (El Kaddouri 84)
: Belec; Letizia, Romagnoli, Poli (Daprela’ 60); Pasciuti (Zaccardo 11), Crimi, Bianco, Martinho, Sabelli; Mancosu (Verdi 79), Lasagna
Ref: Doveri

Sent off: Bianco 56 (C)