Napoli were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw with visitors Roma during their highly-anticipated Serie A clash at the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday.
A sellout crowd of 55,000 Partenopei faithful motivated Maurizio Sarri’s men to hold a dominant presence throughout the match, but ultimately neither team could capitalise on their chances.
The first half saw Napoli take the lion’s share of 61 per cent possession, but were guilty in failing to hit the target or to provide Gonzalo Higuain with any service at all.
Roma began proceedings with brief scares for Pepe Reina, as the returning Mohamed Salah drifted towards the box from the left-wing but pulled his strike just wide of the mark.
Miralem Pjanic then provided a wonderful cross from the byline for an unmarked Edin Dzeko inside the penalty area, but the Bosnian failed to hit the target.
Despite plenty more pressure, the Azzurri also failed to hit the target, as Lorenzo Insigne gave Roma heaps of trouble on the break, but twice sailed his shots over Wojciech Szczesny’s crossbar, as the two teams went into the break all square.
Marek Hamsik had the best scoring chance in the 59th minute when Higuain turned provider with an outside foot through ball to send the Slovakian clear on goal, but his shot went painfully close and just wide of the post.
Daniele De Rossi looked to have broken the deadlock with his headed goal in the 82nd minute, but was subsequently ruled out since Antonio Rudiger was unable to keep his enticing cross within the bounds of play.
Only minutes later, Hamsik was denied by a brilliant double save from Szczesny, as Allan put a perfect ball behind the defence but the Polish shot-stopper showed exquisite reflexes to keep Roma’s hopes alive.
The resulting draw sees Napoli level with Fiorentina on 32 points in third, while a point leaves Roma in fourth with 29 points.