One week removed from their season opening victory at Ascoli, Napoli we’re set to meet another “black and white” in Udinese for their home opener at Stadio San Paolo. While Maradona’s “row” with President Ferlaino (and seemingly the fans) continued, this was also the second consecutive week that we were missing Brazilians Alemão and Careca. Alemão just wrapped up a Copa America victory with Brazil a month before, yet Careca wasn’t in that squad. For the first time in a long time, Napoli had a “made in Italy” starting XI for two straight weeks, but it would not disappoint.
Napoli would start the match with a few good chances by Andrea Carnevale and new boy Gianfranco Zola, who made his second straight start after his debut last week, all stopped by Napoli’s first scudetto goalkeeping hero, Claudio Garella, who was sold to the Zebrette one year ago.
The second half started off fiery, as Zola was brought down just outside the box for a free kick. After a couple of deflections and neat passes, French-born Italian Alessandro Renica scored on 48 minutes to give Napoli the lead. Not long after, Udinese Argentine, Abel Balbo nearly equalized, but spoiled an open net opportunity. And later in the match, Zola had a great chance to get his first goal and double the partenopei lead when his free kick hit the crossbar.
Napoli would win 1-0 again, bringing them to 4 points and top of the table after matchday 2. When asked, manager Albertino Bigon would say, “It feels good to to be top again, I haven’t been top since 78/79”. Bigon was not only on the Milan side who won the 78/79 scudetto, their “gold star” 10th, but he was the club’s leading scorer.
Napoli fans, clearly frustrated at the Maradona saga, were starting to turn on the argentine, making claims that he’s only taking time off to be ready for the World Cup next summer, and that when he comes back he’ll not play much or give his all to preserve himself for Argentina. While that would remain to be seen, fans were happy to know that they could win some matches without him.
Full time: Napoli 1-0 Udinese
NAPOLI: Giuliani, Ferrara, Francini, Crippa, Baroni, Renica, Fusi, De Napoli, Zola, (88′ Neri), Mauro, (75′ Corradini), Carnevale.
UDINESE: Garella, Oddi, Vanoli, Bruniera, Sensini, Lucci, Mattei, Orlando, Simonini, (72′ De Vitis), Gallego, (85′ Minaudo), Balbo.
Goal: 48′ Renica
Matchday 2 results:
by Raffa Rispo