Napoli alleviated their delicate situation in Serie A with a forced victory (2-0) against the modest Benevento in the Campania derby that gives Gennaro Gattuso some air, increasingly questioned after being eliminated on Thursday in the 1/16 of the final of the Europa League against Granada.
It was not a great performance for Naples but it added three essential points that allow it to unseat Lazio from sixth place, defeated on Saturday against Bologna (2-0), and keep it at 3 of the Champions League positions.
Mertenes opens the can
Napoli dominated the game but in many moments without generating danger. In fact, he opened the scoring at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium practically in his first shot on goal. It was a strange goal as a powerful cross from Faouzi Ghoulam provoked a rebound that fell to Dries Mertens, who carried the ball into the net with an unorthodox outside foot (34 ‘).
It was the first error of a Benevento that defended itself with order despite the fact that its coach, Pippo Inzaghi, followed the game from the stands when he was sanctioned.
Goal annulled to Zielinski
Napoli, today without a ‘9’ due to the absences of Victor Osimhen and Andrea Petagna, scored again shortly after, but Piotr Zielinski’s goal was annulled for offside by Mertens for being in the path of the ball (38 ‘).
Enter Roberto Insigne and duel with his brother Lorenzo
At halftime Roberto Insigne entered Benevento and the match turned into a confrontation between brothers due to the presence of Lorenzo Insigne in the Neapolitan ranks. This one had more incidence since the definitive goal emerged from a center of his.
It was a very confusing action as the recently entered defender Gaetano Letizia tried to clear, but the ball bounced off Matteo Politano in the jump and entered the goal (66 ‘). The VAR gave validity to the both considering that the hand of the Naples striker was not voluntary.
No reaction power
Benevento advanced the lines somewhat after 1-0 but without putting a Naples in trouble at any time that did not give them a choice. After a good start to the championship, Pippo Inzaghi’s team has not won for eight days in a row and remains in 16th place, 7 points behind the relegation places.
Gattuso breathes after the victory although the game ended with an incident that he did not like: the red for a double yellow of the central Kalidou Koulibaly for an unnecessary foul with ten minutes remaining.