Napoli vs. Bologna: Final score 3-0, Partenopei start with a comfortable victory

Giuseppe Bellini

Rafael Benítez's Napoli have started the Serie A season with a dominant 3-0 win over Bologna.

Napoli have started the season and Serie A life under Rafael Benítez with a 3-0 win over Bologna. They controlled the game from start to finish, and were never put under any difficulty by the visitors.

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In fact, they almost took the lead inside the opening six minutes, when summer arrival José Callejón -- given the nod ahead of Lorenzo Insigne in this match -- sweetly struck a volley from the edge of the area, only for it to bounce back off Gianluca Curci's post. The winger was one of the partenopei's best players in the first half, and almost assisted Marek Hamšík with a floated free-kick into the box after 19 minutes, though the Slovak's header was straight at the Bologna goalkeeper.

The visitors barely created anything at all, with Panagiotis Kone's early long-range effort ensuring Napoli keeper Pepe Reina resisted the urge to doze off. Napoli dominated, with the breakthrough finally coming just past the half-hour mark. Hamšík's shot from a tight angle was parried away by Curci, though only as far as the lurking Callejón. He was left with a tap-in to mark his league debut with a goal.

Within ten minutes Napoli had the ball in the net for a second time, though Gonzalo Higuaín was denied a debut goal by the offside flag. It wasn't entirely one-way traffic, though Bologna failed to carve out chances with the space they found in behind wing-back-turned-full-back Christian Maggio. They were made to pay in stoppage time at the end of the first half, when some lightning footwork in the box from Hamšík saw him round Curci, and slot into the empty net for 2-0.

Higuaín went close from a free-kick after the restart, though curled it narrowly wide of the post. Bologna looked no better, with Rafael Benítez's team suffocating the rossoblù by their control of possession. A third goal put the game beyond doubt shortly after the hour, when Pandev laid the ball off for an onrushing Hamšík to score from the edge of the box.

Bologna created a couple of opportunities as the game drew towards its conclusion, with Kone drilling a long-range shot straight at Reina, before full-back Jose Crespo slid the ball wide at the far post in the rossoblù's best chance of the match. However, Stefano Pioli's men had left it too late anyway, and only the offside flag stopped Dries Mertens from adding a fourth before the final whistle.

Napoli: Pepe Reina; Juan Zúñiga, Miguel Britos, Raúl Albiol, Christian Maggio; Gökhan İnler, Valon Behrami; Goran Pandev (Lorenzo Insigne 67'), Marek Hamšík (Dries Mertens 72'), José Callejón; Gonzalo Higuaín (Josip Radošević 84')

Goals: Callejón 32', Hamšík 47', 63'

Bologna: Gianluca Curci; Marek Čech (Jose Crespo 72'), Cesare Natali, Mikael Antonsson, György Garics; Francesco Della Rocca, Rene Krhin (Diego Pérez 79'); Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Davide Moscardelli 46'), Alessandro Diamanti, Panagiotis Kone; Rolando Bianchi

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