3 Reasons why Juventus beat Napoli
- Juventus beat Napoli in a 4-3 thriller culminating in the dying minutes of the game. We take a look at the heroes and villains of this story
Kalidou Koulibaly sunk to his knees, head in his hands, as the repercussion of his error washed over him in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the match. Usually the reliable rock at the back for Napoli, the inopportune moment that his human nature betrayed him, gave Juventus a 4-3 win in a crucial early tie between the top two teams in Italy from last season.
Juventus began the game strongly, controlling most of the play in midfield and threatening a Napoli side that looked disoriented. Just when it seemed like Juve's threat may subside, a swift counter attack ending in Danilo's goal broke the deadlock. The Portuguese defender had been on the pitch all of 26 seconds when he scored the debut goal for his new club, having replaced an injured Mattia di Sciglio.
Gonzalo Higuaín added a second in the first half, and Cristiano Ronaldo got his first goal of the season in the second. At 3-0 up Juventus were cruising for about four minutes. Manolas and Lozano scored their first goals for Napoli just two minutes apart in the 66th and 68th minutes respectively to make it a far more interesting end to the game.
The visitors had seemingly completed a comeback when another first time scorer Di Lorenzo got on the scoresheet in the 81st minute, only for all the work to be undone in the dying minutes of the game.
We could chalk this one off to luck and move on but Juventus did many things right in the game.
Higuaín's return to form
Gonzalo Higuaín had the best single club season of his career under Maurizio Sarri at Napoli. Since then he's linked up with the Italian manager at Chelsea and now Juventus. He shone under him at Napoli but failed to have that same impact under him at Chelsea. His start to this season at juve suggests a return to old ways for him.
The striker was perhaps the most influential player on the night for Juventus. He brought Douglas Costa, Sami Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Blaise Matuidi into play and ensured almost a constant threat to Napoli's goal. Had it not been for Alex Meret's heroics, perhaps Juve would've ran away with it in the first half.