Rafa Benitez had to get along without Gonzalo Higuain, while Rudi Garcia preferred the young talent Dodò to the Greek Vasilis Torosidis. The first part of the match was very balanced, with the two teams solid and trying to exploit an error of the opponent. But the two major chances were for Napoli, which wasted them with Goran Pandev (thanks to an amazing save by Morgan De Sanctis) and Lorenzo Insigne, who hit the post. When Francesco Totti was forced to quit the game for a muscular problem (after 33 minutes), Roma's fans had the sensation that they were living the first adverse night of the season.
But a perfect free-kick by Miralem Pjanić just a few seconds before the end of the first half made everything easier for the giallorossi. One minute before, Napoli's defender Miguel Britos left the pitch for a problem to the shoulder. In his stead Benitez chose Paolo Cannavaro: it will be a terrible match for the former captain of the team.
In the second half Napoli tried to invert the course forcing Roma to defend. Partenopei hit the post other two times with Inler and Hamšík. In the meanwhile, Gervinho as well had a muscular problem, although less serious than Totti's. The Ivorian was replaced by Adem Liajić. But in the best moment of Napoli, Paolo Cannavaro collapsed on top of Marco Borriello and the referee conceded the penalty, which was netted by Miralem Pjanić: double for the Bosnian.
The last 20 minutes were pure academy, with Napoli almost knock out and Roma in its best situation: Rudi Garcia's men could make some ball-possession (although Napoli kept the ball for 56% of the game) hiding it to the partenopei. Benitez's team came out of this match a little downsized and, above all, losing the contact with the leadership, which is now five points distant.
Now all the eyes will be on Fiorentina-Juventus. Bianconeri have the chance to shake Napoli off the second place. But if Juventus won't win, it will be Roma's breakaway. Thanks to our reviewer Noemi Stacconi
Saturday, October 19 th, 2013
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roma, napoli, rudi garcia, rafa benitez, adem liajic, miralem pjanic, francesco totti, marco borriello, morgan de sanctis, gervinho, gonzalo higuain, marek hamsik, paolo cannavaro, gokhan inler, lorenzo insigne, fiorentina, juventus