Just when Juventus was showing momentum, they go and throw a stinker.
Lorenzo Insigne ended his Juventus penalty curse and scored his 100th goal for Napoli, giving them a surprise 1-0 victory thanks also to Alex Meret heroics.
This was the first Serie A meeting of the season between these sides, as the October trip to Turin was canceled due to COVID cases, initially earning Napoli a 3-0 defeat and docked a point, a decision revoked on appeal. That fixture is yet to be rescheduled, but they did meet in the Supercoppa last month, Juve winning the trophy 2-0.
The Partenopei were decimated by injuries, missing Dries Mertens, Kalidou Koulibaly, Kostas Manolas, Diego Demme, Elseid Hysaj, and Faouzi Ghoulam, then David Ospina pulled out in the warm-up. Paulo Dybala, Arthur, and Aaron Ramsey were ruled out for the Bianconeri, who came here off three consecutive league clean sheets.
Federico Bernardeschi shinned off target from a promising position, while Napoli had penalty appeals waved away, as Nikola Maksimovic nodded the ball onto Giorgio Chiellini’s arm from point-blank range.
However, Chiellini made another error when jumping with his arm on Amir Rrahmani’s face and this time VAR did consider it a foul, as did the referee following his on-field review. Despite missing three previous penalties against Juventus, including one in the Supercoppa last month, Lorenzo Insigne still stepped up and buried it into the roof of the net. It was his 100th goal in the Napoli jersey and he dedicated it to his wife.
Chiellini was involved again, charging down an Insigne curler after a dummy had sold Matthijs de Ligt, then stood tall to stop Piotr Zielinski running into the box, while Federico Chiesa curled off-target and Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick was straight into the wall.
Juan Cuadrado went off with a muscular problem, but Juve poured forward from the start of the second half, Ronaldo drilling wide, then volleying straight at Meret from point-blank range on a corner.
Meret had more work to do, standing tall to beat away a ferocious Chiesa strike, then Chiellini was offside when setting up Alvaro Morata to score.
An Alex Sandro snapshot flew past both the far post and Ronaldo sliding in, then on the counter, Ronaldo saw his effort denied by Meret’s legs at the near post.
Chiesa drilled inches wide from the edge of the area following an Eljif Elmas error, but Meret again used his legs for a sensational save on Morata from six yards.
It was a siege in the closing stages, including six minutes of stoppages, especially as Chucky Lozano had a muscular problem and Napoli were effectively down to 10 men.