Match in a sentence
An Edinson Cavani hat-trick sunk Roma 4-1 in the Derby del Sole and has reignited Napoli’s surge in the race for the Scudetto.
- Zeman’s side started the game in a 4-3-3 with an attacking trio of Francesco Totti, Erik Lamela, and Mattia Destro. Roma’s midfield consisted of Miralem Pjanic, Michael Bradley and Daniele De Rossi.
- Walter Mazzari went with his traditional 3-5-2 with Edinson Cavani and Goran Pandev upfront. Christian Maggio and Zuniga were the wingbacks with Marek Hamsik ahead of Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler.
- Napoli started this game in fine fashion as it took them four minutes to take the lead courtesy of a delicious ball from Pandev to Cavani. The Uruguayan striker made no mistake as he slotted the ball past Mauro Goicoechaea
- Pandev was Napoli’s danger man in the first half as he received the ball in between the lines on numerous occasions. He then would drive at the shaky Roma backline, but only the Cavani opener would result from Pandev’s work.
- Roma enjoyed majority of the possession but did little with it. With Lamela and Destro switching sides looking to cut in, Roma’s shape was too narrow and it stifled several of their attacks when they got into the final third. They looked better when Federico Balzaretti got forward to provide some width, but they lacked the extra bit of quality. They could use width on both sides, but with Cavani drifting to the left, Ivan Piris has been unable to get forward.
- Napoli started the second half as they did the first with another Cavani goal. Hamsik held up the play and Zuniga overlapped and cutback a ball into the box that fell to Cavani and the Uruguayan made no mistake.
- Mazzari’s men were organized and they defended as a unit, and Roma simply failed to produce any magic in the final third. They moved the ball too slow, there was minimal movement off the ball and the front three of Lamela, Totti and Destro struggled to get in behind the Napoli back line.
- As the game went on, Roma was forced to throw players forward, and finally Piris started to push higher up the field. Piris as well as Balzaretti’s presence higher up the pitch was non-existent and as expected it was a useful outlet for Napoli to launch their counter-attacks.
- Cavani added to his tally later on with an unmarked header from a corner kick that put the game out of reach for the Giallorossi. Pablo Osvaldo brought the game to life minutes later when Pjanic provided a glorious ball that Osvaldo slipped past Morgan De Sanctis.
- Zeman was tactically naïve tonight, and despite Roma having a few chances to pounce on, they weren’t good enough on the night. Napoli allowed them to have the ball, knowing they had the quality in breaking down that Roma defence. Napoli also believed that Roma couldn’t break them down. They lacked natural width going forward, the midfield were unable to provide quality service to the front men, who were also average today. Zeman’s 4-3-3 was nullified and without a plan B, he simply watched Napoli comfortably defeat his side.
- Unfortunately for Roma, things went got worse when Pjanic was sent off moments after the goal when he received his second yellow card of the night. Christian Maggio added the fourth in stoppage time to secure the three points for Napoli.
- The win sees Napoli climb to third in the Serie A table, in what looks destined to be a dog fight for not only the Scudetto, but Champions League spots. The difference in this match was Cavani, because unlike Lamela, Totti and Destro, Cavani was ruthless in front of goal. Today he displayed to the world why he is the best striker on the planet.
1. Edinson Cavani
2. Goran Pandev
3. Gokhan Inler