A draw was the last thing both teams wanted as it gets both of them further away from clinching a Champions League spot, what happened, how did it happen? This is why you are reading this.
The game at the Olimpico stadium kicked off between the two fighters for the Champions League spot at the beginning Roma got two costless kicks were they could create some chances but both were cleared by Edison Cavani. Minutes later Gokhan Inler came with a key pass to Juan Zuniga whose shot was blocked by the Roma defense. Then came two corners to Napoli first was shot by Federico Fernandez cleared by Fernando Gago off the line, and another shot from Edison Cavani went wide. Rodrigo Taddie worked on the right flank and crossed the ball to Fabio Borini who missed the target. Moments later a Marquinho’s miss pass gave a chance for Edison Cavani and Marek Hamsik to work a counter attack but Hamsik’s shot was saved by Lobont.
On the 26th minute Roma began to capitalize over the game, shooting from outside the box and creating chances from both flanks, first was a powerful shot from Rodrigo Taddei that was saved in the bottom left corner, later Francesco Totti came with another shot that was deflected by Morgan De Sanctis and was a clear chance for Fernando Gago in the six yard box but the Argentinean coped the miss of the week. Roma’s pressure continued as Aleandro Rosi’s cross was close from goal, but it ended up with Bojan at the left flank who sent the ball to Marquinho who missed yet another chance. Roma’s chances kept coming but later Francesco Totti gave a key pass to Aleandro Rosi who assisted Roma’s first goal that was scored by Brazilian midfielder Marquinho.
Walter Mazzarri did some magic in the half time team talks, a new Napoli was unleashed in the second half dominating the game and giving the Giallorossi no chance, Juan Zuniga scored a wonder goal from a spectacular shot that was assisted to him from Marek Hamsik’s corner, then Marquinho was about to add his second but the ball went wide. Napoli got much better as soon as Goran Pandev replaced Blerim Dzemaili, while Lobont showed some quality in saving a number of chances from Edison Cavani, Gokhan Inler and Christian Maggio. However Goran Pandev came with a counter attack assisting the ball to Edison Cavani who did not fail to impress the Napoli fans with another goal giving his team the lead.
The game was close to an end as Roma’s chances produced nothing fruitful but Roma’s Primavera Junior Tallo delivered a savior cross to Fabio Simplicio who scored the equalizer to end the game 2-2.
Lessons to learn from the game:
- As Napoli started with three center midfielders and three center backs Luis Enrique did a great job telling his players to shoot from wide distances and attacking Mazzarri’s defense from the flanks
- You have to give Luis Enrique credit for giving a Primavera player like Junior Tallo the chance to play in such a vital game, the 19 year-old player saved his coach when he beat Christian Maggio in the second goal
- On the other hand knowing he holds a weak defense, Luis Enrique should have never left only three defenders on counter attacks knowing he is facing one of the best teams producing goals from counter attacks in Europe, this was a case created more than once and you can clearly see it in Edison Cavani’s second goal of the game
- Walter Mazzarri’s half time team talk changed the performance of his team upside down from a fragile team not eager to battle to a dominating team fully capitalizing and putting La Magica under pressure.
- There is a huge drop in form of both Christian Maggio and Juan Zuniga especially defensively as Roma were shown no resistance in creating chances from the flanks, as we have seen both of the Giallorossi’s goals were scored from mistakes by both fullbacks
- The absence of Lavezzi has a huge impact on Napoli’s performance as there is no player with e special dribbling and pace qualities to create chances, something Mr. De Laurentiis has to consider if he is planning on selling the Argentinean this summer