Serie A - Roma down Napoli

Sun, 18 Dec 21:11:00 2011

Two deflected goals for Roma saw the visitors win 3-1 at Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo.

AS Roma's Osvaldo (C) celebrates after scoring against Napoli during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Paolo stadium in Naples December 18, 2011 - 0

Napoli keeper Morgan De Sanctis fumbled the ball into his own goal in the third minute of a frustrating night for the home team who could not turn their dominance into goals.

Paolo Osvaldo doubled the visitor’s advantage on 59 minutes as he finished Francesco Totti’s delicious deep cross.

The lively Marek Hamsik got a goal back with eight minutes to go, but the comeback was short lived as Paolo Cannavaro deflected a Fabio Simplicio drive up and over his own keeper and into the back of the net.

The result leaves Napoli 12 points off the top of the league in a season when they were fancied to be challenging for the league title. While Roma move to 9 position, now with the same number of points as tonight’s opponents.

Roma took the lead early in an open and attacking first half.

The visitors worked the ball out to the left to Eric Lamela who skipped first by Hugo Campagnaro and then away from Paolo Cannavaro. The young Argentine then cut in along the goal line before fizzing a low cross which picked up a slight deflection from Salvatore Aronica, a deflection which unsettled Morgan De Sanctis in the Napoli goal as he fumbled the ball into the back of his own net.

Within a minute, Napoli had created their first opening of the match as Marek Hamsik stung the palms of Maarten Stekelenburg in the Roma goal who would also deny Gokhan Inler 60 seconds later.

Napoli were enjoying the lion’s share of the possession and territory in the early stages and were enjoying particular success down the left hand side and it was from this position that they should have equalised in the 24 minute.

Juan Zuniga turned Alenandro Rosi back and forth before getting to the goal line and drilling a cross to the unmarked Hamsik at the far post who somehow shot over the bar from four yards.

Again Stekelenburg came to the Roma’s rescue in the 31 minute as he batted away Christian Maggio’s sharp volley from a long Cannavaro ball over the top.

But when Stekelenburg was finally beaten, Napoli could not beat the woodwork as Hamsik saw his low, near post shot rebound back off the post.

Throughout the match Napoli played with a high defensive line which Roma found they could get in behind to relieve pressure at the back. In the 38 minute Daniele De Rossi clipped the ball over the top to Osvaldo who shot just wide with the outside of his right boot.

Three minutes later Roma were in again as Leandro Greco slipped in Erik Lamela who took a touch before tickling a shot across the keeper and off the post.

Francesco Totti came under criticism from his own fans this week following a missed penalty in the 1-1 draw with Juventus. However, those fans will have little complaint with the Roma captain’s terrific low, fizzing cross which Osvaldo could not miss on the 59 minute to make it 2-0.

Napoli forward, Edinson Cavani, had a very quiet match and was largely anonymous until the 70 minute when he popped up to head straight at Stekelenburg and then drilled a low shot into the side netting.

Cavani’s strike partner, Hamsik continued to look bright and got a deserved goal on the 83 minute as he ran on to a neat Zuniga pass to lash the ball into the bottom corner.

Napoli thought they had grabbed an equaliser on 90 minutes as Goran Pandev slid in to finish after Cavani had hit the cross bar. However, the referee’s assistant had correctly flagged Pandev offside to cut Napoli’s celebrations short.

Instead of an equaliser, the last action of the night came at the other end. Roma streamed forward, finding Simplicio who hit a low shot which deflected up off a desperate Cannavaro challenge and into the net to spark wild celebrations on the visitor’s bench.

Dan Rumens / Eurosport

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