Federico Gatti sends Juventus top of Serie A with win over Napoli
Gatti headed home the only goal early in the second half.
Juventus moved top of Serie A, for 24 hours at least, with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over reigning champions Napoli.
Federico Gatti headed the only goal of the game early in the second half to take his side a point above Inter Milan, who face Udinese at San Siro on Saturday evening.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri had challenged his players to rectify the club’s wretched recent results against Napoli, Juve having lost five of their last seven league meetings including a 5-1 thrashing in January.
And the Bianconeri boss got what he wanted after the home side weathered an early storm at the Allianz Stadium to record their 11th win of the season.
Napoli started brightly and were inches away from taking the lead in the ninth minute, Matteo Politano’s curling shot leaving Wojciech Szczesny flat-footed but agonisingly grazing the outside of the post.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia then failed to even hit the woodwork as he wasted a glorious chance shortly before the half-hour mark.
Victor Osimhen superbly controlled a long clearance on his chest and drew both Juventus central defenders out of position before squaring the ball to Kvaratskhelia, who took a slightly heavy touch before blazing his shot over the bar as Szczesny dived at his feet.
Szczesny was in the thick of the action again 10 minutes later as he produced a stunning reflex save from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who had been gifted a clear sight of goal after Bremer inadvertently headed the ball off team-mate Gatti.
The flag did go up for offside as Juve struggled to clear their lines, but that took nothing away from the brilliance of the former Arsenal goalkeeper as the sides headed into the interval on level terms.
Parity lasted just five minutes of the second period, Andrea Cambiaso providing a perfect cross from the right for Gatti to head home from just five yards out.
Szczesny looked to have undone all his good work in the 71st minute when he hit a careless clearance straight to substitute Eljif Elmas, who headed the ball straight to Osimhen to fire home, only for Osimhen to be correctly ruled offside.
Napoli piled on the pressure in the final minutes as Juventus defended deep, but Giacomo Raspadori’s low shot was comfortably saved by Szczesny at the foot of the post.
Walter Mazzarri has now won just one of his first four games in charge since returning to Napoli for a second spell, a run of results which leaves his side fifth in the table and 12 points behind Juve.