Just under 30,000 fans packed into the Stadio Artemio Franchi as Fiorentina and Napoli played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Saturday evening, the first time since March 1991 that the two teams have played out such a result.
It was Fiorentina’s 11th draw of the Serie A season, with Napoli now failing to score in their last three away league matches, something they haven’t done since April 2015.
There were plenty of opportunities for both sides though the away side will be most disappointed with the magnitude of chances missed.
As a result, Juventus could now move 11 points clear of Napoli should they beat Sassuolo on Sunday evening.
Napoli should have taken the lead early on after Piotr Zielinski’s cross-come-shot was parried by Alban Lafont directly into the path of Lorenzo Insigne who poked wide from close range, when it looked easier to score.
Lafont was back in action soon after as Faouzi Ghoulam swung in a magnificent cross for Dries Mertens who shot straight at the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Federico Chiesa shot across goal from a tight angle, but another gilt-edged chance came the way of Napoli as Fabian Ruiz found Mertens on the left and his cross was met by Jose Callejon at the far post, but he was unable to get his strike on target.
Alex Meret was called into action midway through the half and made a brilliant save from a thunderous Jordan Veretout effort, then Bryan Dabo slashed the rebound high over the crossbar.
Again Napoli should have been a goal up when Mertens found space in the six-yard box, but side-footed into the direction of Lafont.
Then as a the opening period came to an end, a deflected Insigne shot went inches wide.
Another chance went begging for Napoli early in the second half, as Callejon got down the right and his low cross was met by Zielinski but again Lafont came to Fiorentina’s rescue.
Ruiz almost bent one into the top corner from distance as chances for both sides became few and far between. However in time added on Arkadiusz Milik should have stolen all three points as he slid in unmarked at the back post, but he was only able to find the side netting.
SCUDETTO ALL BUT GONE
Last season, Napoli came to Florence and needed a win in order to keep the Scudetto pressure on Juventus, they crumbled then, losing 3-0, and on a cold February night, nine months later Fiorentina pretty much killed off any slim title hopes the Partenopei had. It wasn’t through any fault other than their own, as Napoli had at least three brilliant opportunities to take the lead but fluffed each of them, which means Juventus will likely go 11 points clear once more as they saunter their way to another Serie A trophy.
Fiorentina have racked up 11 draws in Serie A this season, just less than 50 percent of their matches. Today Lafont was their saviour – along with poor Napoli finishing – and apart from a couple of half chances never really looked dangerous. Luis Muriel was peripheral, Chiesa tried to do too much and Gerson was all running and no guile.