Livorno vs. Napoli, final score 1-1: another poor performance by an exhausted Napoli

Giuseppe Bellini

Livorno could've used a win, but a point against one of Serie A's tops sides is a good result for the relegation-threatened club. Napoli, meanwhile, will be upset at their inability to close the gap on second-placed Roma.

Napoli's midweek Europa League match obviously took its toll. Playing without intensity while demonstrating a lack of ideas, especially against small teams, is becoming a sort of a theme for the azzuri this season. So once again, Napoli missed a chance to get closer to Roma in second place. As for Livorno, they celebrated their point as though it were a victory, but given that they're still in the relegation zone, that point is little more than a moral victory.

Napoli tried to find a win through possession,but weren't willing to risk a lot. The visitors' first real chance came in the 11th minute, when Goran Pandev sent a through ball to Marek Hamšík. Ibrahima Mbaye got to the ball before the Slovak, however, but then got a little confused about which side he played for. Mbaye then took a shot on his own goal, but fortunately for Livorno, only managed to hit the post.

And this is the side that Serie A's third placed team couldn't beat...

Not much else happened until the 30th minute, when Mbaye was once again in the center of attention. After his misplaced header, the ball fell to Pandev inside the box. Federico Ceccherini pushed over the Macedonian and the ref pointed to the spot. Dries Mertens put his shot straight down the middle, giving Napoli the lead.

Just seven minutes later, Ishak Belfodil passed the ball to Djamel Mesbah on the left flank. Mesbah's low cross to the near post met, guess who, Mbaye whose shot was deflected by Pepe Reina and landed in the net.

Unlike the first half, when the amaranto wanted to sit back and soak up the pressure, the home side was much more willing to attack after the break. They created a lot of problems for Napoli, who once again seemed to have turned off in the second half - not that they were brilliant in the first. The only real chance for the visitors came at the very end of the match. In the 90th minute, the only bright spot of tonight's game for Napoli, Mertens, sent in a cross for substitute Duván Zapata, but the Colombian was late and couldn't get to the ball.

Livorno: Bardi; Coda, Emerson, Ceccherini; Mbaye, Benassi, Greco (Duncan 83'), Biagianti, Mesbah; Paulinho (Castellini 90'), Belfodil (Emeghara 77')

Goal: Pepe Reina own goal 39'

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Fernandez, Britos, Ghoulam; Inler, Jorginho; Mertens, Hamsik (Zapata 82'), Callejòn; Pandev (Insigne 70')

Goal: Mertens 31'

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