Spal 1-2 Napoli: Match report and ratings as Rui and Allan secure three points for Napoli in a breathless encounter

12 May at 20:10
Napoli and Spal put on a treat of attacking football this afternoon, in a match that could have gone either way. Allan opened the scoring in the second half, only for Spal to think they had done enough to earn what would have been a deserved point with a late penalty, converted by Petagna, only for Mario Rui to fire home his first goal of the season late on to steal the points for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

The first half was a lively affair, with both sides looking to commit men forward in search of the opener. Napoli had the first big chance of the match when Allan fed Milik inside the box. The striker struck his shot low that beat the keeper but came back off the post. Milik was first to the rebound and fired low and hard again, but this time Viviano was able to push his effort wide.

Spal then had a good shout for a penalty turned down, after Koulibaly was deemed to have got the ball when tackling Petagna from behind in the Napoli box. While he did get some of the ball, it certainly fell into the ‘I’ve seen them given’ camp, and Napoli would have little to argue about had VAR overruled the referee’s decision.

Napoli started to dominate possession, and turn the screw on Spal, and created a couple of half chances, but it was Spal who had the next big chance. Lazzari, who seemed to thrive against the team he has been so heavily linked with, lofted a perfectly weighted cross to the back post where Petagna was arriving, but he wasn’t able to make a good contact and a big chance went begging as the ball rolled into Meret’s arms.

Younes then missed a glorious chance for Napoli, after doing all the hard work following a neat one-two with Zielinski on the edge of the box. He jinked past three tackles in a congested penalty area, before finally finding space for a shot, but he sliced his effort wide of goal when it looked easier to score. Milik and Callejon then both had efforts from distance, which sailed past Viviano’s goal, and an entertaining opening period ended goalless.

Just after the break Napoli did make the most of their superiority, with Allan’s first goal of the season. The Brazilian broke into the penalty area, before his shot was blocked. The rebound fell to Younes whose cut back found Allan perfectly, who took a touch to open his body up, and bent one into the top corner beautifully.

Alex Meret almost gifted Spal a way back into the game when his pass put the Spaniard under intense pressure on the edge of his box. Schiattarella won the ball off Fabian, and toed it towards Petagna who couldn’t find a way past Meret despite being one on one. This gave Spal a bit of hope though and straight after Antenucci found himself through on goal, and he squared the ball for Floccari to turn the ball into the empty net, only for the linesman to rule it out for a marginal offside, that was then confirmed via VAR. Meret then went on to make another smart stop to deny Antenucci as the home side grew in confidence. Floccari then had a great header saved by Meret and Napoli seemed to be holding on for dear life.

Finally though Napoli’s resistance broke, when Luperto’s clumsy challenge on Floccari was penalised, and Petagna duly converted from the spot. Spal were level for only four minutes however, when Mario Rui played a one two with Callejon on the edge of the box before rifling an effort past Viviano at his near post. It was cruel on Spal who had looked good value for a point but Napoli have shown all season how strong they are late in games. Spal then spurned two massive chances late on as they threw caution to the wind in an effort to steal a point back, but Napoli just about managed to hold on.

It was far from a complete performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men, but they will be happy to come away from Spal with all three points, after such a tough game. Defensively there seem to be more questions posed each game than answers, but they certainly know how keep fighting till the full time whistle.
 
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