Salernitana vs Napoli 0-2: The Campania Derby Is Blue!

Runaway Serie A leaders Napoli eased past underperforming Salernitana 2-0 in the Campania derby at the Stadio Arechi to bounce back from midweek Coppa Italia heartbreak. Saturday’s fixture in southern Italy lived up to its billing, with the visitors dominating what was always expected to be a one-sided affair through and through.

Without headline winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and with Matteo Politano on the bench, Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti changed the skin of his talismanic frontline. It didn’t pay off early on, as the visitors struggled to create enough chances despite enjoying 75% possession in the first half.

Salernitana head coach Davide Nicola, reinstated as a Salernitana manager in the build-up to this fixture only days after being dismissed, unsurprisingly opted for a conservative approach. After conceding eight against Atalanta last weekend, the hosts paid much more attention to their defensive set-up today.

However, it had to come at the expense of their attacking aspirations, even though it’s not like they failed to threaten Alex Meret’s goal in the first half.

But the first clear-cut opportunity in the opening 45 minutes belonged to Napoli. Standout striker Victor Osimhen caught a demanding volley from the resulting corner, but he could only manage to hit the welcoming arms of Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the 20th minute.

Three minutes earlier, Nicola had to make a premature substitution as Norbert Gyomber picked up an injury, with Matteo Lovato taking his place. Two minutes after the Nigerian’s miss, Salernitana responded through Polish goal-getter Krzysztof Piatek. But after a decent solo run, the former Milan frontman tried from an acute angle, with Meret up to the task, deflecting his shot for a corner.

The home side based their attacking ambitions on set-piece plays but to no avail. Indeed, Nicola’s men were happy to concede possession and forge a wall in front of Ochoa’s goal. Osimhen thought he broke the deadlock with a fantastic finish from an impossible angle, but he was just a fraction offside, as confirmed by VAR eventually.

Yet Napoli made a breakthrough on the stroke of halftime. When it looked like Salernitana would enter the break unscratched, Andre Frank Zambo-Anguissa and Mario Rui exchanged a perfect one-two before the Cameroonian found Giovanni Di Lorenzo unmarked in the box. The right-back kept his composure and hammered the ball off the crossbar into the net to hand Napoli a slender lead.

As it’s often been the case this term, Spalletti’s men refused to settle for a single-goal margin. Only three minutes into the second half, Piotr Zielinski unleashed a devastating mid-range effort straight into the far post. But Osimhen was quick to the rebound, stabbing home from point-blank to give Napoli a comfortable two-goal cushion.

Faced with a Herculean task, Salernitana shifted the dynamics of the game briefly and came close to pulling one back through Lorenzo Pirola. The defender connected with a cross on the edge of the six-yard box, but his glancing header rattled off the left post. It didn’t take long before Napoli’s response. Osimhen beat his man in the air, yet Ochoa pulled off a stunning save to keep the Serie A top-scorer at bay.

Despite keeping his side in the game theoretically, the Mexican shot-stopper’s heroics were insufficient to help Salernitana avoid a sixth defeat in seven league matches (D1).

The hosts could’ve made things interesting, but Piatek’s shot from the edge of the box was denied by the post. And while Nicola’s men are experiencing their second-worst points tally during a seven-game spell in Serie A, Napoli have at least temporarily extended their lead at the top to 12 points.  



January 21, 2023 – Serie A 2022-2023 Round 19

SCORERS: 45+3′ Di Lorenzo, 48′ Osimhen


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SALERNITANA (4-3-3): Ochoa; Daniliuc (85′ Sambia), Gyomber (16′ Lovato), Pirola, Bradaric; Candreva, Coulibaly, Nicolussi Caviglia, Vilhena (73′ Valencia); Dia (85′ Bonazzoli), Piatek (Fiorillo, Sorrentino, Bohinen, Capezzi, Kastanos, Iervolino, Botheim) Coach: Nicola
NAPOLI (4-3-2-1): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-jae, Rrahmani, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski (86′ Ndombele); Lozano (86′ Politano) , Osimhen (89′ Simeone), Elmas (Marfella, Sirigu, Bereszynski, Ostigard, Olivera, Zerbin, Demme, Gaetano, Raspadori) Coach:  Spalletti
REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padua
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Bradaric, Pirola (S), Kim Min-jae (N)

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