Atalanta vs. Napoli: Final score 3-0, Germán Denis returns to haunt terrible Neapolitans

Marco Luzzani

Atalanta striker Germán Denis returned to haunt his former club Napoli on Sunday, netting a brace as his side recorded a shock 3-0 win.

Napoli suffered an astonishing 3-0 defeat at the hands of mid-table Atalanta on Sunday, and they can have no complaints. It was an entirely self-inflicted loss, with the victors capitalising on a string of defensive disasters from the partenopei to net thrice in the second half. At the other end the Neapolitans created very little, and were made to pay for benching Marek Hamšík and Gonzalo Higuaín.

The game was remarkably uneventful throughout the first half, with neither side looking threatening. It was predictably Napoli who created the better chances of the first half, though they lacked a sense of urgency as well as their attacking stars, who watched on agitatedly from the bench.

There was the very occasional attacking spark in the first period, with Dries Mertens and Blerim Džemaili missing half-chances and the lively José Callejón creating a couple more. However, the partenopei never really scared Atalanta, with the hosts content to sit back and soak up the pressure. At halftime, there had been just one shot on target in the entire match.

It didn't take long for that to change once the second half had kicked off, with Atalanta finding the back of the net with their very first accurate attempt. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina didn't cover himself in glory as he helplessly flapped at Germán Denis' low shot from the edge of the box, though at least he has the excuse of having had his vision obscured by one of his own teammates.

Napoli created a couple of half-chances to draw level, though they still couldn't find an equaliser. With 25 minutes remaining, they were punished. A howler from Gökhan Inler saw him attempt a bizarre overhead kick in his own box. Charging towards goal, Denis picked the ball up and slotted it underneath Reina to double his side's advantage, and seal a brace against his former club.

Incredibly, the hosts weren't done there. With 20 minutes left Atalanta took advantage of yet another defensive mistake from the partenopei, as Maxi Morález slipped in behind the dithering Federico Fernández to add a third. Fortunately for Napoli, that was where the humiliation stopped; the hat-trick of horrors was enough.

Atalanta: Consigli; Grosso, Yepes (Lucchini 35'), Stendardo, Benalouane; Bonaventura, Migliaccio, Baselli (Cigarini 58'), Raimondi; Morález; Denis (Cazzola 86').

Goals: Denis (47', 64'), Morález (70').

Napoli: Reina; Réveillère (Ghoulam 76'), Albiol, Fernández, Maggio; Inler, Džemaili (Jorginho 73'); Mertens, Pandev, Callejón; Zapata (Higuaín 58').

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