Napoli 0-1 Lazio: Vecino stunner ends Serie A leaders' winning streak

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Lazio brought an end to Napoli's eight-match winning streak in Serie A with a surprise 1-0 victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Matias Vecino struck the only goal of the game in the second half with a thunderous effort from distance in a frustrating game for the hosts.

Solid defending from Lazio thwarted I Partenopei, who were largely limited to efforts from distance and struggled to break down the visitors.

Late chances did come Napoli's way though, Victor Osimhen hitting the bar and Kim Min-Jae's rebound brilliantly saved by Ivan Provedel as Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri inflicted only a second league defeat of the season upon his former team.

Lazio almost stunned the home fans inside five minutes, Vecino flicking a header from Mattia Zaccagni's free-kick towards the far corner but Giovanni Di Lorenzo was on hand to make a crucial goal-line clearance.

First-half opportunities were limited for the hosts, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa having the first sight of goal with a drilled effort from distance that deflected off Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and whistled just over the bar.

Napoli's inability to threaten Provedel's goal continued after the break, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia spurning a free-kick in a dangerous position by firing harmlessly into the stands, before Piotr Zielinski dragged wide from just outside the box.

The deadlock was finally broken by the visitors after 66 minutes, Vecino unleashing a thunderbolt into the right-hand corner of the net to leave Alex Meret helpless.

Napoli came agonisingly close to an equaliser 11 minutes from the end, Osimhen heading against the crossbar and Min-Jae immediately seeing his own effort clawed off the line by Provedel.

Milinkovic-Savic came close to consolidating Lazio's win after striking the frame of the goal with a late free-kick, though it mattered little as the visitors held on for a important win in their hunt for Champions League qualification.

What does it mean? Napoli's number up

With Napoli on an eight-match winning streak where they had scored 21 goals and conceded just twice, few gave Lazio a chance against the apparent Serie A champions elect.

Sarri's game plan had the hosts penned in though, preventing the passes from the back that have been integral to Napoli's tactics this season and limiting the space that Osimhen found in threatening positions.

Now four points clear of Roma, who face a stern test against Juventus this weekend, Lazio's win may prove to be vital in the chase for a top-four finish, though it is unlikely to knock the wheels off Napoli's journey to the title.

Lazio's firm defence

The visitors' first half display set the tempo for the game, restricting Napoli's ability to create chances and ultimately preventing them from scoring – having now kept their opponents at bay in the first half in 21 of 25 Serie A matches.

A 14th clean sheet of the season came at the end of the game, with only Juventus (15) having more this season.

Building from the back

While Napoli were unable to create chances in their usual fashion, it was not for a lack of trying as Min-Jae attempted 155 passes – the highest total for any player in Serie A this term.

Of those, 146 found their man and the South Korean defender also topped the charts for the most touches in the game (163).

Key Opta facts

- Napoli have lost a Serie A match at home for the first time since 10 April 2022, having won 12 and drawn two since then.
- It was also the first time they have failed to find the net in a Serie A home game since 6 March 2022, scoring 45 goals at an average of 2.8 per game since.
- Lazio have already equalled their record for away clean sheets in a single Serie A season with eight, the same as the 1994-95 and 1999-2000 campaigns.
- Lazio have scored each of their last six Serie A goals against Napoli from outside the box.
- Napoli failed to attempt any shot from inside the box in the first half of a Serie A match for the first time since August 2019 against Juventus.
- Felipe Anderson played his 200th game in Serie A. Since his return to Lazio, the Brazilian is the only Biancocelesti player to have played every match in the top-flight (63 of 63).

What's next?

Napoli return to Serie A action next Saturday at home to Atalanta, while Lazio turn their attention to Thursday's Europa Conference League clash against AZ Alkmaar.