Napoli Vs. Juventus, 2011 Serie A: Thrilling Match Ends In 3-3 Draw

Napoli and Juventus played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the San Paolo on Tuesday night, clearly demonstrating that Serie A needs to play more often on weekday nights. This match had it all: comeback goals, a missed penalty, speed, thrills, a bouquet of yellow cards, and a few hilarious mistakes.Goran Pandev scored a brace and Marek Hamsik a goal for Napoli, Alessandro Matri, Marcelo Estigarribia, and Simone Pepe each contributed for the Old Lady.

For the first fifteen minutes, it appeared as though the Twitter battle between the vesuviani and the bianconeri would be more entertaining then the match, as each side squandered possession, making careless mistakes. Then, in the 16th minute, Andrea Pirlo brought down Ezequiel Lavezzi on the edge of the area. Paolo Tagliavento immediately pointed to the spot, Hamsik stepped up and put the ball past a diving Gigi Buffon. As Hamsik prepared to celebrate, Tagliavento blew his whistle, gesturing for a retake, indicating encroachment. Of course the Slovakian missed on his second attempt, sending the ball high over the frame.

Hamsik would have his revenge, however, after less than ten minutes. A Lavezzi free kick floated tantalizingly into the box, pinged off Christian Maggio, and was headed into the back of the net by Hamsik. To the surprise of almost everyone, Pandev then joined in, scoring his first goal in the azzurri shirt when he pounced on a failed Pirlo clearance. Napoli took the 2-0 lead into halftime at the San Paolo.

But the league leaders weren't about to give up that easily. Just minutes after play resumed, Arturo Vidal sent a great ball through to Matri, lingering near the edge of the area. Morgan De Sanctis came rushing out of goal, but couldn't stop Matri's low, curving shot. Suddenly Juve were within a goal, and had 40 minutes left to play.

Instead it was Napoli that scored next, with Pandev determined to show his first wasn't a simple fluke. This goal from the Macedonian was pretty, the forward playing a bit of keepy-uppy as he spun in a circle, shaking off both Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Buffon could do nothing to stop the ball from settling in the back of the net.

Napoli had little time to celebrate, however, with Estigarribia scoring his first bianconeri goal less than five minutes later. The Paraguayan took his shot from almost exactly the same spot as Matri had earlier in the half, prompting Napoli fans to wonder when, exactly, Salvatore Aronica would be put out to pasture. While De Sanctis is good, it's usually helpful for a team to have a defender to, well, defend.

The misery wasn't yet over for Napoli, however. Despite Walter Mazzarri making a rare defensive substitution, replacing Aronica with Federico Fernandez, the visitors came back and snatched a draw in the 79th minute. Pepe may have had a bit of a blinder in the first half, but he attempted to make up for it with his goal, taking the ball through the midfield, past two Napoli defenders, and sliding the ball on into the bottom corner.

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