Napoli vs. Chievo: Final score 1-0 on a goal from Marek Hamsik

Marco Luzzani

Chievo Verona did their best to shut down a Napoli side missing Edinson Cavani, but in the end the partenopei took all three points to move back into second place.

Should you think this match report on Napoli - Chievo Verona is biased, please, stop and consider the Flying Donkeys. It is not that Napoli's attempts were so much more eye catching, or more deserving of attention. It's that Chievo put nine men behind the ball and had perhaps one decent shot. Although Chievo defended admirably, Marek Hamsik managed to put one in the net, and the 1-0 win puts Napoli back in second place.

The first chance of the match fell to Gokhan Inler, who took his shot from thirty yards out. His powerful right foot meant the shot was actually on target, hitting the post before bouncing around near the goal line. But with no partenopei players following in, Chievo were able to rescue.

For the rest of the first half, Napoli continued to pepper Stefan Sorrentino's goal, but to no avail. While Sorrentino managed a couple decent saves, including tipping a shot from Lorenzo Insigne over the bar, the real problem appeared to be that the goal frames had been lowered about ten feet.

Christian Maggio, two yards out in front of an empty goal, somehow headed the ball over the crossbar in the 24th minute. In the 38th minute, Goran Pandev performed nearly the same trick when trying to head in the rebound from Hamsik. Three yards out, over the bar. Clearly, the home side missed the injured Edinson Cavani.

The second half started much the same as the first. Many of the chances fell to Insigne, who unfortunately demonstrated why he's not yet a starter. His shots had either too little or too much behind them, going over the goal or barely troubling Sorrentino.

In the 58th minute, though, Hamsik finally broke the deadlock. Camilo Zuniga sent the ball over to Hamsik on the left, and the Slovak sent in a powerful, left-footed shot that a diving Sorrentino could do nothing about.

The visitors' best chance came in the 70th minute. Boukary Dramé sent the ball in to Cyril Théréau, but he, too, placed his header over the bar. Conspiracy?

Chievo had a hellish last fifteen minutes. In the 78th, Kamil Vacek was shown his second yellow card in ten minutes, this time for holding back Hamsik to prevent him from going free on goal. Napoli were unable to use their man advantage to double their lead, however. In fact, the Flying Donkeys very nearly had the chance to equalize, but Sergio Pellissier's calls for a penalty in the 81st were waved away.

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