Napoli vs. Juventus: Final score 2-0, Juve comprehensively beaten in Naples

Giuseppe Bellini

League leaders Juventus lost for only the second time in Serie A this season, deservedly beaten 2-0 by third-placed Napoli on Sunday.

Serie A league leaders Juventus suffered only their second defeat of the league season away at Napoli on Sunday, with the third-placed Neapolitans recording a surprise 2-0 win. After an impressive first half, José Callejón gave the partenopei the lead, before Dries Mertens doubled their advantage deep in the second.

It took Napoli until inside the final 10 minutes of the first half to break the deadlock, though they really should've opened the scoring much earlier than they did. They completely dominated throughout the opening half-hour, with only some brilliant goalkeeping from Gianluigi Buffon combined with some less-than-impressive Napoli finishing keeping the game goalless. Marek Hamšík did put the ball in the back of the net after just seven minutes, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

Eventually the opener did come, with Lorenzo Insigne's deep cross from the left met in the six-yard box by the onrushing Callejón. It looked like he may have been fractionally offside, but this time the linesman didn't agree, and the Spaniard was able to prod the ball beyond Buffon. By the time the halftime whistle blew, Juve had barely tested Pepe Reina at all, and Antonio Conte needed a rethink.

Sure enough, Juve came out for the second half looking to seize control of the game, but were still unable to break down a notoriously porous Napoli defence. Substitute Mirko Vučinić curled a long-range effort just wide seconds after coming on, though otherwise the bianconeri's goalscoring chances were rather few and far between.

Eventually they were made to pay the price, with Napoli netting a second on the counter-attack. A great long pass from Goran Pandev found his fellow substitute Mertens, who slotted the ball past Buffon to seal all three points.

Ultimately this result means little for either side. Juventus still have a nigh-on unassailable advantage over AS Roma at the top of the table, while Napoli's hopes of overhauling the giallorossi and stealing second place are similarly improbable. But it's a nice confidence-booster for the Neapolitans, who might not be as far from genuinely challenging the bianconeri as the league table suggests.

Napoli: Reina; Ghoulam, Albiol, Fernández, Henrique; Jorginho, Inler; Insigne, Hamšík (Mertens 79'), Callejón (Džemaili 89'); Higuaín (Pandev 74')

Goals: Callejón (37'), Mertens (81')

Juventus: Buffon; Chiellini, Bonucci, Cáceres; Asamoah (Isla 53'), Pogba (Marchisio 61'), Pirlo, Vidal, Lichtsteiner; Osvaldo (Vučinić 70'), Llorente

Goals: None

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