Google+ PLANET FOOT 7: Napoli beat AC Milan 2-1 and Balotelli misses the first penalty of his career!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Napoli beat AC Milan 2-1 and Balotelli misses the first penalty of his career!

Napoli kept up their 100 per cent begin to the 2013-14 season with an wonderful 2-1 over AC Milan at San Siro on Sunday.

The visitors started the game brightly and were soon ahead through Miguel Britos, with Gonzalo Higuain doubling their lead just after half-time.

Mario Balotelli squandered the chance to 

regain a foothold in the match, missing the first penalty of his career, though the Italy international scored a bright consolation strike at the death.
A scarce goal from Miguel Britos an another for Gonzalo Higuain was enough for the Neapolitans as they continue their excellent form to begin the season, collecting maximum points from the opening four matches. Milan meanwhile grabbed a consolation goal via a wonderful Mario Balotelli effort that curled into the far post. 

Three minutes in, Valon Behrami could have put Napoli in the lead when his side footed effort flew over the crossbar after a cross from Insigne. Sixty seconds later Higuain pounced on a misplaced pass by Cristian Zapata and should have done better as his effort went just broad of the post as the Neapolitans started to assert themselves more.

Napoli put away their third chance in as many minutes through Britos off a freekick. Insignes freekick fell to the far post where Raul Albiol headed it back into the middle for Britos to nod in.

Milans first chance of the match came through Balotelli, whose shot was parried away by Pepe Reina in the 10th minute. Two minutes later, Balotelli again had a chance off a direct freekick, however, his shot went broad of Reinas post. After allowing Napoli the run of play in the opening 10 minutes, the Rossoneri started to retake some of the momentum through Balotellis exploits.

The match started to settled after the initial flurry, with both sides producing little in the way of sure-cut chances. Most of Milans certain play came through either Balotelli or Valter Birsa, while for Napoli, the attacking three of Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik, and Lorenzo Insigne were a constant threat, whether through construct-up play or on the counter. Milan could have had a penalty 10 minutes before the fracture after Zuniga clattered into Poli close to the touchline, however, the referee called for a corner instead.

Three minutes into the second half Napoli approximately gifted Milan an equaliser after Mexes flubbed his shot off  corner kick that missed approximately everyone, including Reina. Napoli recovered quickly, bagging their second five minutes later through Higuain. The Argentine international rifled a shot past Christian Abbiatis close post from outside the place as it initially appeared that Abbiati had held onto the ball.

The Rossoneri immediately went on the attack, and their persistence paid off after Balotelli won a penalty just short of the hour mark. However, the Italian international had his penalty saved by Reina, his first professional miss in 22 attempts. A short while later Reina also denied Alessandro Matri and comfortably saved a long-range Balotelli effort. Balotellis misfortune continued in the 70th minute as his rising shot clattered off the crossbar.

After Napolis second goal Rafael Benitezs side attempted to slow the pace of the match to ensure their two-goal lead despite Milans efforts to cut the deficit in half. Milans response for the last 15 minutes was to go with a forward quartet of Balotelli, Matri, and substitutes Mbaye Niang and Robinho.

Balotelli again had a chance to score in the 84th minute, but his freekick went harmlessly over the crossbar for a goal kick. Napoli nearly added a third a few minutes later after Goran Pandev failed to capitalise on a rebounded shot parried by Abbiati.

Balotelli redeemed himself two minutes into stoppage time, scoring an excellent goal from outside the place that left Reina with no chance of thwarting him again, though he was given a second yellow card after the final whistle and will likely be suspended for the midweek fixture against Bologna.


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