Piotr Zielinski’s second half tap-in and a Lorenzo Insigne volley gave Napoli a hard fought 2-1 victory over Juventus at the Stadio San Paolo in Serie A on Sunday.
Poland midfielder Zielinski took advantage of compatriot Wojciech Szczesny’s poor goalkeeping to score from close range, before a wonderful late Insigne volley ended a four-match losing streak.
Cristiano Ronaldo pulled a goal back for Juventus in stoppage time to strike for the eighth consecutive match, but Napoli held on to become only the second team to beat the Bianconeri in the league this term.
A first half of few clearcut chances saw Napoli enjoy the better of the early chances. Arkadiusz Milik rose highest to reach a Mario Rui corner, but could only guide his effort over the crossbar.
Shortly after, Jose Callejon ghosted into the box to meet Insigne’s cross with a glancing header, but Szczesny was untroubled.
At the other end, Juventus saw plenty of possession but were unable to fashion many opportunities. Alex Sandro drove forward from left-back before exchanging a quick one-two with Ronaldo and breaking into the box, but Kostas Manolas was on hand to marshal him out of play.
As the half wore on, the Bianconeri looked more threatening and appeared to be in behind when Blaise Matuidi stole possession high up the pitch and released Paulo Dybala, courtesy of a Gonzalo Higuain dummy. The Argentine’s heavy first touch in the box allowed Mario Rui to cover and clear however.
Early in the second period, Juventus had the ball in the back of the net through Ronaldo, but play was brought back for offside on Higuain in the build up.
Meanwhile, Zielinski came within inches of a stunning goal as he bent a Fabian Ruiz layoff over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Juventus came closest to breaking the deadlock on the hour mark through a rapid counterattack. Dybala used the outside of his boot to release Ronaldo on the edge of his own box, and a magnificent flick took him away from Elseid Hysaj to sprint the length of the Napoli half. The Portuguese star then found Higuain, but he shot straight at Alex Meret.
The Bianconeri were made to rue that miss as Napoli immediately took the lead. Poor defending allowed Insigne to rifle in from distance, and Sczcesny was only able to parry the ball to the unmarked Zielinski to tap in from close range.
As Juventus pushed for an equaliser, Insigne looked to have sealed a crucial victory for the Partenopei late on. Milik broke clear and shot across the face of goal, allowing Callejon to collect the ball and cut back for Insigne to drill beyond Szczesny on the volley.
However, the visitors hit back immediately, as Ronaldo latched on to a long ball over the top to poke beyond Meret in the box. It proved to be little more than a consolation however and Napoli hung on for victory.