Napoli 3 – 1 Bologna: Match Review and Player Ratings


With Juventus leapfrogging Napoli on Saturday evening, Sarri’s team were eager to come out of the floodgate and find a win against Bologna in order to regain top spot and silence the critics.

The opening seconds of the first half brought a shock to Napoli as Bologna scored first early on. Federico Di Francesco made a darting run on the left flank catching Chiriches slightly out of position as he crossed the ball right on to the head of Palacio, who found the back of the net.

The nerves and anxieties going through most fans minds were, “Could this be the moment that spoils our chances? Lo and behold, that was not the case and Napoli were granted some luck by the Calcio Gods of the Stadio San Paolo. Mario Rui sent a menacing ball off a corner set piece that deflected off of Mbaye’s foot through an attempted clearance.

Both sides generated about a roughly even amount of chances but Napoli were more clinical in front of goal, retaining possession of the ball at 62%.  Just before the first half ended Callejon made a magnificent move to dribble the ball between Masina’s legs and draw a penalty. After numerous reviews by VAR, the penalty was still awarded. In the 37th minute, Mertens converted the penalty by smashing it into the bottom left corner. This was the turning point of the match as the momentum swung Napoli’s way, giving them confidence to start the second half with a 2-1 lead.

Napoli began the second half with more grit and determination to finish to the game off and were in the midst of another victory. In the 59th minute, following a fast break by Insigne’s overlap pass, Mertens doubled his tally with a beautiful strike into the right corner from the left side of the box. The Belgian international had the fans come out of their seats (including myself) bursting with cheers. This finally gave Napoli the insurance to defend well the rest of the match and hold on.

The Partenopei showed great character in this one as their response was one that Sarri was looking for, as they proved to handle the pressure quite well and reclaim first place. Napoli will be facing Campania rivals Benevento next Sunday evening at the San Paolo.

Match Stats:




Possession (%)




9 (4 on target)

10 (5 on target)

Passing (%)






Attacking 3rd %



Tackles %



Fouls won




Players Ratings:

Reina (7.5)

Hysaj (6.5)

Chiriches (6)

Koulibaly (7.5)

Rui (7)

Allan ( 7.5)

Jorghino ( 6 )

Hamsik (6.8)

Callejon (7)

Mertens (8)

Insigne (7.5)

Mark Manganiello @manganiellomark


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