Spalletti Finds No Excuses as Napoli Slump Against Verona

Napoli spurned a glorious opportunity to move alone at the Serie A summit as Hellas Verona again stunned the Partenopei at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. Like it wasn’t enough to hinder their top-four charge last season, the Gialloblu again held the Partenopei to a 1-1 draw in Naples.

Napoli supporters had a deja vu as Verona, who were the main culprits Napoli failed to reach the Champions League last season, added insult to injury on Sunday afternoon. 

In-form striker Giovanni Simeone got Verona off to a flying start 13 minutes into the game with a clinical finish from inside the box, as he’s now found the net in three of his last four Serie A appearances. However, Napoli fought their way back into the match only five minutes later. Right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo hammered the ball through Lorenzo Montipo’s legs from point-blank range to restore the stalemate. 

Napoli tried to mount the pressure in the second half, but they failed to create enough clear-cut opportunities. It looked like Luciano Spalletti’s side could snatch away a late win when Daniel Bessa received his marching orders in the 88th minute. But, six minutes in stoppage time and Nikola Kalinic’s 93rd-minute expulsion proved insufficient for the Partenopei to grab the three points.

A victory over the side that pulled off one of the upsets of last season would have enabled Napoli to go two points clear of second-placed Milan, who shared the spoils with Inter in the 175th edition of the Derby della Madonnina. Spalletti threw all of his hard-hitters into the mix down the final stretch, but Verona stayed compact at the back and inflicted another upset on the current Serie A leaders.

Spalletti refused to look for excuses in the aftermath as he hailed Napoli’s performance against a ‘defensive-minded’ Verona side.

We played a good game overall. We could have had more luck on some occasions,” the experienced manager said, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB. “Fatigue always affects. I wouldn’t try to find excuses, as we had the chance to win the game.