A goal and assist from Arkadiusz Milik saw Napoli see off a spirited Sassuolo side 2-0 on Sunday night and reach the quarter-final stage of the Coppa Italia.
He scored early and set up a second half strike for Fabian Ruiz, although the game did hinge on a big turning point when Roberto De Zerbi’s men had an equalising goal ruled out with the aid of VAR in controversial fashion.
On 15 minutes, Napoli made the breakthrough when Milik made the most of his starting role to finish off a fantastic move that flowed down down the left through Adam Ounas and Lorenzo Insigne and ended with the latter’s cross being diverted into the Pole’s path by a poor touch from Gianluca Pegolo.
However, even after the opener, the hosts didn’t have it all their own way and the Neroverdi did show signs that they weren’t completely out of things by giving Napoli a mighty scare on 35 minutes.
Orestis Karnezis made a decent stop to divert the ball away from danger following a Manuel Locatelli flick down and volley but it was quickly recycled by Sassuolo and when Filip Djuricic played in Locatelli and he slammed the ball home.
Upon a VAR review though, it was determined that the Milan loanee had taken the ball down with his arm for his initial strike, even if the decision did appear harsh and kept Carlo Ancelotti’s men in the lead at the break.
A terrific Kalidou Koulibaly sliding intervention kept the visitors out as they probed again at the start of the second half without finding any joy and it was the home support who breathed a sigh of relief on a cold Campania night when, after Milik had went close to another, they doubled their lead.
On 74 minutes, they broke with intent and a sweeping crossfield pass from Insigne split the away defence and was collected by Milik who added an assist by teeing it up perfectly for the onrushing Ruiz to slam home.
Insigne almost got in on the act with a free-kick which lashed against the side-netting but still Sassuolo wouldn’t be bowed and Jeremie Boga lashed a strike in from range which Karnezis saved well and he preserved his clean sheet with an even better save in the final moments to deny a sliding attempt from Locatelli, who has certainly had more enjoyable nights on the field.