It was a hard-won victory on Sunday in Naples. A missed penalty and a red card nearly costing Gli Azzuri a winning start to their Serie A campaign. However, ultimately Insigne and Elmas’ goals proved too much for Venezia to overcome.
Napoli, though favourites going into the match, were without some of their stars, namely, Mertens, Demme and Ghoulam. On the flip side, the Serie A return of Venezia was also a weakened affair due to injuries and a couple of players not yet cleared post-transfer.
A fantastic save from Niki Maenpaa’s legs denied Politano who hurled himself at Insigne’s cross towards the back post.Embed from Getty Images
Osimhen who had until this point proved himself a menace to the Venetian keeper and defence with his pressing causing errors on two occasions, eventually found himself in trouble after pushing Daan Heymans a tad too assertively during a corner tussle for the liking of the referee who decided to send him to the stands with a straight red. An opener nearly came in the form of a cross by Venezia’s Molinaro however despite Johnsen and Ebuehi flinging themselves at the ball, both found themselves late by a minute amount.
Things only got increasingly frustrating for the hosts after their penalty, taken by Lorenzo Insigne, was lobbed clear of the crossbar and behind the goal. However, this miss was condemned to history when four minutes later Napoli were awarded a second penalty under the same circumstances (a stray arm blocking a cross in the box). This time, however, Insigne kept it simple and sent Maenpaa in the opposite direction. 1-0.Embed from Getty Images
Ten minutes later the Partenopei doubled their lead following a clever move between Lozano and Insigne which was intercepted by Ceccaroni however this ended up falling to Elmas who cleaned up this defensive error with a great shot. 2-0.
Venezia once again attempted to attack however a decisive slide tackle by Koulibaly killed the game off ensuring the hosts got their Serie A campaign off to the best possible start.
Man of the Match: Lorenzo Insigne – Got himself on the scoresheet (Insigne has now scored 5 of Napoli’s last 9 opening day goals in Serie A) and played a key role in setting up the second. A captain’s performance.
Header Image Credit:GaeC86, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons