Atalanta and Napoli battled to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on Wednesday evening in Serie A.
A goal from former Napoli player German Denis wasn’t enough as Gonzalo Higuain levelled late before missing an injury time penalty thanks to a Marco Sportiello save.
Early chances came for Gonzalo Higuain and David Lopez but both shots went wide. Sportiello in the Atalanta goal then made smart saves against Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik to keep the score level.
The first half continued with Napoli possession but no real clear cut chances as Jose Callejon failed to make the most of a quick counter attack. The Spanish forward chose to shoot rather than square the ball for Higuain who, as the half wore on, cut a more and more frustrated figure.
Just before the half time whistle Atalanta had a free kick just outside the Napoli penalty area after a foul by Faouzi Ghoulam for which he was booked, but Denis shot straight into the wall as the half time whistle blew.
Atalanta came out for the second half with more purpose and Nicolo Cherubin scuffed a good chance from an early free kick when free at the far post. Hamsik, who was largely anonymous, tried an audacious chip which was comfortably saved by Sportiello.
The Dea made their positive approach pay when a quick counter attack found Denis in the six yard box from a Cristian Raimondi cross to give the Nerazzurrithe 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later Napoli had a golden opportunity to level when a cross from Ghoulham found Callejon a yard out and he somehow managed to put it over the bar for what may be the miss of the season.
Mertens was then booked for a dive in the box although Giuglielmo Stendardo did have a slight hand on him.
Minutes later Denis slipped at the vital moment when free in the box in front of goal and this turned out to be costly as a Lorenzo Insigne cross was beautifully controlled by Higuain who spun and found the corner of the goal to level things up.
Luca Cigarini received a second yellow card for deliberate hand ball to leave the home side with ten men in the dying minutes.
Things nearly turned disastrous for the home side in injury time when Stendardo conceded a penalty only for the excellent Sportiello to save the resulting Higuain spot kick to salvage a draw.