Napoli came into the game at the Stadio Bentegodi on Wednesday night full of confidence and swagger following the 3-1 home win over Milan on Sunday night which had taken them top of Serie A.
They left with their tails between their legs having been outplayed, out-thought and ultimately out-scored by the one club that doesn’t care about reputations or league positions. Domenico Di Carlo based his success during his first two year tenure at Chievo on a fantastic home record.
If clubs came to the Bentegodi and didn’t respect the Gialloblu then they got beaten no matter who they were or the reputations that their players claimed to have. Walter Mazzarri made that mistake on Wednesday night. With one eye on Saturday’s tough home game with Fiorentina and the other seemingly on next Tuesdays Champions League home clash with Villareal, he proved that he didn’t have any eyes on the task in hand.
The Coach of the Partenopei decided that he could afford to rest Edison Cavani, Gokan Inler, Marek Hamsik, Ezequeil Lavezzi, Andrea Dossena and skipper Paolo Cannovaro and still get a result. If the rest of his squad had been anywhere near good enough then just maybe he would have got away with it, but in short Mazzarri and his Napoli men got what they deserved-nothing.
Di Carlo on the other hand knew he had a point to prove after Sunday’s disappointing 2-1 defeat at Parma. The ‘Flying Donkey’s’ hadn’t been at the races in the first half as Parma should have put them to the sword but only had a 1-0 lead to show for it. The second half had seen a total Gialloblu dominence in which they finally equallised but also missed five other clear-cut chances before going down to a 91st minute goal on the counter attack.
With this in mind Di Carlo also made several changes, some enforced and others not so. He made two changes to his back four, bringing back Gennaro Sardo after suspension and bringing in Santiago Morero alongside Bostjan Cesar to replace the injured Marco Andreolli. Bojan Jokic kept his place at left back.
In midfield he made a couple of changes bringing in U.S.A. International Michael Bradley for his first start after a good performance from the bench at Parma. Luca Rigoni and Perparim Hetemaj kept their places as Kamil Vacek and Paolo Sammarco dropped to thebench. New summer signing Rinaldo Cruzado came in for his first start ahead of Sammarco. With Pellisier not recovering in time, Alberto Paloschi got his first start alongside Frenchman Cyril Thereau following his goal at Parma from the bench.
In terms of the game, there was nothing to report in the first half with the game pretty much stuck in midfield and both sides cancelling each other out. The first clear chance fell to Chievo at the start of the second half with Hetemaj forcing a great save from Morgan De Sanctis with a stinging low drive from distance.
Cruzado then embarrased himself when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, he took a wild swing and only managed to connect with fresh air. Mazzarri threw on Cavani and Inler in an attempt to spark some life into his side. Di Carlo responded by sending on Sammarco and Moscardelli and immediately De Sanctis was tested from distance once more by Moscardelli.
Napoli finally created a chance with twenty minutes left when Mascara headed Cavani’s cross onto the roof of the net. The Gialloblu finally made the break through two minutes late when Napoli debutant Fideleff scuffed his clearance in the penalty area and Moscardelli thumped the ball into the top corner.
The Partenopei had no answer despite introducing Marek Hamsik and Chievo nearly wrapped things up with five minutes remaining when Napoli gave the ball away in midfield allowing Moscardelli to run and curl his shot from the edge of the box which De Sanctis brilliantly turned onto the crossbar.
For answers, Mazzarri need only look to himself and realise that his squad isn’t good enough or strong enough to survive resting six or seven of his starting eleven for a Serie A game. For Di Carlo and his men, they will now go into Sunday mornings early kick-off at home to Genoa full of confidence and fully expecting to continue their fine home record.
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