The Round 5’s biggest upset arrived in Naples Wednesday evening as substitute veteran Lucas Castro’s header in the 87th minute dealt Napoli a gutwrenching 1-0 defeat.
Spoiling far too much of their chances in the opposition‘s third, this one showed shades of the 2018/19 season for the Scudetto contenders as they too often struggled to pull ahead and put this one to bed. Throw in the fact both Juventus and Inter managed to come out with wins despite the quick turnaround in the schedule and this one will certainly leave a sour taste in Napoli’s mouth as they head into the next phase of the campaign.
Here are the player ratings for Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the defeat.
Alex Meret (GK, 6) The Italian keeper had virtually nothing to deal with all match, with just the one goal the only shot of five in total to be on frame. A cleansheet that undoubtedly slipped away.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo (DEF, 6.5) The former Empoli man started as a RCB in a back three, a role unfamiliar to him as he’s a pure fullback. However, Di Lorenzo looked comfortable on the ball, executing 88% of his passes and winning six aerial battles. Yet, his slight lapse contributed to Castro running in for a free header that ultimately decided the game.
Kostas Manolas (DEF, 6.5) Despite playing a role in the conceded goal, Manolas performed well when called upon. 91% passes completed, spraying five long balls and winning seven aerial encounters.
Nikola Maksimovic (DEF, 6) A relatively quiet day for Maksimovic in 45 minutes of play. Napoli did not face a ton of pressure, so there isn’t much to run through with his performance.
Jose Callejon (MID, 6) Callejon played the entire 90 minutes, registering two shots, one of which found the target. Much like the rest of the squad however, were left frustrated in the abundance of offensive chances laid to waste.
Allan (MID, 6.5) A solid showing in the midfield for the Brazilian. 90% of his passes were completed, and he busted up play with six tackles. Picked up a yellow that was a bit harsh, but that comes with the territory given his makeup.
Piotr Zielinski (MID, 6.5) The Pole had a strong effort from long range denied by Olsen who proved very tough to beat tonight, but that was the lone attempt to put the ex-Roma man in a rescue mission. Overall, Zielinski‘s performance stood up next to Allan.
Mario Rui (MID, 7) Rui was on his game tonight, making those consistent overlapping runs and doing well to beat his man with a dribble when required.
Hirving Lozano (ATT, 5) The Mexico international’s involvement in the attacking phase was very limited throughout his 65’ of play before being subbed off for Fernando Llorente.
Lorenzo Insigne (ATT, 5) Quiet night for the captain in this one with just 42 touches of the ball and the one shot on target. Milik relieved him in the 74’ in an effort to present a different look to Cagliari’s backline that was willing to abosrb.
Dries Mertens (ATT, 6.5) Although unlucky with two attempts grazing the woodwork and Olsen on his game, Mertens lacked the clinical finishing needed to beat the Swedish keeper on the day, which was the overall theme for Napoli in the defeat.
Kalidou Koulibaly (DEF, 4) A night to forget from the star defender who was sent off with a straight red card in the 88th minute after Napoli conceded.
Fernando Llorente (ATT, 5.5) Four total shots, zero on target. Llorente was riding a hot streak coming into this one after last week’s goal vs Liverpool and brace on the weekend against Lecce. Unfortunately for him, he could not keep that momentum going.
Arkadiusz Milik (ATT, 5) Milik managed two shots on six touches of the ball in about a quarter of an hour on the pitch. Besides that, there isn’t much more to judge from his spell off the bench.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti (6) Napoli created a high volume of chances, but lacked the finishing and cutting edge to make the most of their opportunities. When you launch 30 shots to the opponents‘ 5, but only manage to put five on target, that comes down to end product. The Partenopei’s controlled possession with 68%, and were mainly untested in the back, which makes this defeat one hard pill to swallow.
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