It seemed like Napoli’s terrific home form against big clubs will push them towards another big win and put them back in title contention, but Juventus’ spirit and brilliant second half left us with a 3-3 draw leaving us disappointed the game didn’t last longer.
Marek Hamsik provided us with tragic-humourous moment of the match, probably the season. He scored a penalty kick, went downstairs to celebrate, only to come back up and find out he needed to take it again. This time, as Murphy teaches us time after time, the ball went over the crossbar.
Juventus, missing Claudio Marchisio, were the better side during the first 15 minutes, but Marek Hamsik deserved a goal, and got nine minutes after his penalty miss. Juventus’ defensive problems, despite the lying stats, were exposed once again. Anytime Chiellini has to play left back, the Barzagli – Bonucci duo has problems in the middle.
Napoli thrive as underdogs, when they don’t have to take initiative and handle possession. They have a strong defense and their counter attack, with Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani (missing today, Pandev filled in beautifully) is one of the best in Europe, as Manchester City tasted a week ago.
Antonio Conte did something at halftime in the dressing room. Probably shouted quite a lot. It was a different Juventus side in the final 45 minutes, eliminating Napoli off the pitch. Goran Pandev did score a wonderful goal to make it 3-1, but the Juventus train wasn’t to be stopped. Alessandro Matri, Marcelo Estigarribia and Simone Pepe (on fire lately) made it a wonderful 3-3, and Juve probably deserved a win in the end.
More importantly for Juventus – They’re still undefeated, with a two point lead over Milan and Udinese in the Serie A race. No other team in Italy even have one loss. Milan, Udinese and Atalanta have already lost twice.
Two thoughts after the match – Gianluigi Buffon will probably go down, to some, as the greatest goalkeeper of all time. These days, he doesn’t give Juventus that extra something a great goalkeeper should. He stops what he should, he doesn’t stop anything harder. The future, and the end of an incredible career, is sooner than we thought.
Ezequiel Lavezzi – A nightmare for anyone marking him. Steel tough, lightning quick, a bit of a diver but when it comes down to it, a true gladiator who has a problem with scoring. Otherwise, the most enjoyable to watch forward in the world right now.
And Far Away – Barcelona and the Carling Cup
For Barcelona, it was a good early start to day 14 in the La Liga, with one of those easy 4-0 wins at the Nou Camp that have made the La Liga such a dull and boring league. Alexis Sanchez with a brace, David Villa and Lionel Messi scored for the champions, hoping that Real Madrid take a tumble before the Clasico (December 10).
In England, when the Carling Cup got finally interesting (quarter finals) we had two big matches and one stunner. Liverpool made their second successful visit to Stamford Bridge in nine days, beating Chelsea 2-0 with goals Maxi Rodriguez (scored in the league as well against Chelsea) and Martin Kelly of all players. Glen Johnson, another right back, scored the second goal nine days ago. Just sayin’. Life for AVB is getting tougher and tougher.
London again, the North side. Sergio Aguero gave Manchester City a needed confidence booster with a late winner to beat Arsenal 1-0. The biggest result was Cardiff’s 2-0 win over Blackburn, giving the Welsh side who annually mess up their very good chances of Premier League qualification a prestigious win. Kenny Miller and Anthony Gerrard (the younger brother) scored.