Juventus 2-1 Napoli: Under-pressure manager Andrea Pirlo bought some time thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 25th league goal of the season and Paulo Dybala’s second-half strike
- Andrea Pirlo’s side came out on top against Champions League-chasing Napoli
- Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a precise low finish
- Forward Paulo Dybala then scored a second goal after coming on as a substitute
- Lorenzo Insigne bagged a 90th-minute penalty but it was too little, too late
- The result puts Juventus in third but 12 points behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan
Juventus striker Paulo Dybala marked his return from injury with a stunning goal in a 2-1 win over Napoli on Wednesday that moved the Turin club into third place in Serie A and ended their recent slump in form.
Cristiano Ronaldo fired the hosts into an early lead before substitute Dybala, making his first league appearance since January, curled a shot into the bottom corner to double their lead after 73 minutes.
Lorenzo Insigne pulled one back for Napoli from the penalty spot in the final minute, but it was too little too late as the visitors’ four-match league winning run came to an end.
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring against Napoli on Wednesday night
The Portuguese steered home a shot after fine work from Federico Chiesa on the right wing
It was a huge result for Juve coach Andrea Pirlo, who came into the game under massive pressure after picking up just one point from two matches against relegation-battling sides Benevento and Torino.
The champions are third in the standings with 59 points, one behind AC Milan and 12 adrift of leaders Inter Milan, while Napoli are fifth with 56 points.
This fixture was originally scheduled to take place in October, but was postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Napoli squad.
It was a crucial game in the race for Champions League qualification, as the two sides came into it level on points and in contrasting form.
Substitute Paulo Dybala (centre) then scored the second goal four minutes after coming on
Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne scored a 90th-minute penalty but it proved only a consolation
The result buys some time for under-pressure manager Andrea Pirlo and leaves his side third
The hosts should have been ahead after two minutes when Ronaldo missed a glaring chance by heading wide from six yards, but the Portuguese soon made amends by firing in from a Federico Chiesa cross.
Both teams had penalty appeals waved away before veteran Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, earning a surprise recall to the side, made decisive saves from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Insigne after the break.
Dybala did not need long to make an impact on his return from a knee injury, the Argentine firing home a superb finish from the edge of the area four minutes after his introduction.
Victor Osimhen went down under Giorgio Chiellini’s challenge to earn Napoli a late spot-kick which Insigne converted, but it proved to be only a consolation.
Juventus (4-4-2): Buffon; Danilo, de Ligt, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado (McKennie 69), Bentancur, Rabiot, Chiesa (Arthur 80); Morata (Dybala 69), Cristiano Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Szczesny (GK), Pinsoglio (GK); Demiral, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, Fragioli, Ramsey, Kulusevski.
Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 13, Dybala 73.
Yellow cards: Alex Sandro 54.
Manager: Andrea Pirlo.
Napoli (4-2-3-1): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Hysaj (Rui 76); Ruiz (Petagna 89), Demme (Osimhen 54); Lozano (Politano 54), Zielinski, Insigne; Mertens (Elmas 76).
Subs not used: Ospina (GK), Contini (GK); Maksimovic, Manolas, Bakayoko, Lobotka, Cioffi.
Goals: Insigne 90.
Yellow cards: Koulibaly 22, Rrahmani 81.
Manager: Gennaro Gattuso.
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