Pescara vs. Napoli, Final Score 0-3: Efficient Napoli brush Delfini aside

Giuseppe Bellini

Napoli dominated from start-to-finish to easily beat Pescara, all but consigning them to Serie B for next season whilst also ensuring Juventus' Scudetto celebrations will have wait another week.

After their draw against Roma last time out, Christian Bucci made just three changes to his Pescara side, bringing in Antonio Balzano, Giuseppe Sculli and Federico di Francesco, his first Serie A start, for Francesco Modesto, Emmanuel Cascione and Mervan Celik. Walter Mazzari made four changes to the Napoli side that triumphed late over Cagliari last week, Morgan De Sanctis restored in goal, Hugo Campagnaro brought in in place of Alessandro Gamberini and Gokhan Inler and Lorenzo Insigne brought in for the suspended duo Valon Behrami and Edinson Cavani.

Both sides began brightly and there were chances at either end inside the first ten minutes, Insigne shooting wide and Di Francesco and Giuseppe Rizzo forcing corners for Pescara.

Predictably though, it was the visitors who settled into a rhythm and their passing began to push the Delfini further and further back inside their own half. On 15 minutes, Napoli thought they had the lead when it seemed as if Insigne had taken advantage of some poor defending to finish low past Ivan Pelizzoli, however the linesman, correctly, ruled the goal out as the last touch had come off Blerim Dzemaili.

Napoli kept up their pressure and Marek Hamsik's turn-and-shot was palmed over by Pelizzoli, followed a few minutes later by another fantastic save from the Pescara keeper, this time denying an Insigne header. Miguel Britos then headed wide from the resulting corner.

It was one-way traffic at the Adriatico with chance after chance coming for Napoli, Insigne turning provider this time pulling back for Hamsik who tried to guide the ball into the far corner, his effort whistling past Pelizzoli's left-hand post.

Pelizzoli's performance was reminiscent of the one he put in at the Juventus Stadium three weeks ago, pulling out save after save after save to thwart the Napoli attack. He was called into action again to parry a powerful low free kick from Dzemaili, the ball then scrambled to safety before the loitering Insigne could get to it.

Towards the end of the half, the hosts managed to have a small period of possession following a counter attack that found Giuseppe Sculli in the box, his effort going hopelessly over. Soon after stringing a few passes together, Eugenio Togni's 25 yard efford called Morgan De Sanctis into action for the first time since the opening minutes however he comfortably saved.

It took just 41 seconds after the break for Napoli to finally get the goal they so richly deserved. Their first attack of the half was semi-cleared by the Pescara defence however Gokhan Inler was on hand to strike from 25 yards, the shot taking a cruel deflection to leave Pelizzoli helpless and put the visitors in front.

The goal appeared to buoy Napoli and they came forward with renewed vigour, a clever Insigne flick found the run of Pandev but the Macedonian's drive was easy for Pelizzoli to stop.

Juan Zuniga gave his own team a scare, giving the ball away cheaply however Ferdinando Sforzini's header from the resulting cross went just over.

The match was becoming more and more open, with Pescara coming into it a little more although Napoli still had the bulk of the chances, Pandev shooting straight at Pelizzoli after great work down the right hand side from Marek Hamsik.

Pescara had a rare chance when Giuseppe Sculli got on the end of Federico Di Francesco's cross however De Sanctis got down well to save and his quick distribution set Napoli on the counter attack. Blerim Dzemaili got in down the right and he cut back for Pandev, his first touch magnificently taking him away from Marco Capuano, his second a simple finish to double the Partenopei's advantage.

Five minutes later and it should've been three, another quick Napoli attack saw Juan Zuniga cross low for Insigne but his effort ballooned up and way over the bar.

With a two goal advantage and with Pescara rarely threatening, Napoli then began to shut the match down, patiently passing around with the Delfini unable to even get near the ball.

Substitute Pablo Armero burst down the left hand side but his shot was saved by substitute goalkeeper Mattia Perin, introduced after Pelizzoli suffered a groin strain and could no longer continue.

Lorenzo Insigne had put in an energetic performance and deserved a goal, another good chance coming to him after Uros Cosic was caught dawdling on the ball. Insigne stole the ball and raced clear of the Pescara defence but his shot was taken early and slid wide, saving Cosic's blushes.

A minute later, and Insigne's profligacy was made up for, his pass from the left wing being touched on by Armero to Blerim Dzemaili who unleashed a trademark thunderbolt from 25 yards, leaving Perin with no chance and surely giving the points to Napoli.

Substitute Emmanuel Cascione had the chance to score a consolation inside the final ten minutes, escaping Hugo Campagnaro at the far post however his effort went just wide with De Sanctis loudly berating his defence.

Thereafter, Napoli were content to pass the ball around Pescara, Emanuele Calaio having a late chance to extend the lead yet further but his shot was wide. A comfortable win for Napoli then, meaning that Juventus will have to keep the victory champagne on ice for at least another week.

Pescara: Pelizzoli (Perin 64); Zanon, Cosic, Capuano, Balzano; Caprari (Celik 61), Rizzo, Togni, Di Francesco; Sculli (Cascione 70); Sforzini

Napoli: De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Britos; Maggio (Mesto 73), Inler, Dzemaili, Zuniga (Armero 62); Hamsik; Pandev (Calaio 79), Insigne

Goals: Inler 46 (N), Pandev 58 (N), Dzemaili 82 (N)

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