By 90Min
February 24, 2019

A dominant and clinical performance from Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli side meant they solidified their grip on second in their game against Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Napoli showed their class against a Parma side who looked to be chasing shadows for much of the game. Despite missing a few key players through injury, Napoli showed they have strength in depth and proved why they are the second best team in Italy with strikes from Zielinski, Milik and Ounas downing Parma. 

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Parma were denied a penalty in the second half following a VAR review but this would have made little difference in a game which Napoli dominated. 


Parma


Key Talking Point


Parma started the second half much brighter, and it looked like they had gotten their just desserts when in the 54th minute they were awarded a penalty, much to the disbelief of the Napoli players. 

Napoli left-back Malcuit was judged to have brought down Inglese following a Parma corner, with the referee pointing to the spot instantly. 

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The referee then heard that the VAR was looking into a potential foul on Callejon in the moments prior to Parma's penalty being awarded, with it looking like the Spanish forward was tripped as he tried to break out of his box and counter. 


Despite there being minimal contact, it did seem that the Parma player moved his leg towards Callejon, catching his ankle, and sending the Napoli player to the turf. If Parma had actually been given the penalty it would have changed the outlook of the game as Napoli were looking very comfortable up until that point. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Sepe (5); Iacoponi (5), Bruno Alves (4), Gagliolo (5), Gobbi (4); Pepin (5), Rigoni (5), Kucka (5); Gervinho (6), Inglese (6), Biabiany (5)

Substitutes: Siligardi (6), Schiappacasse (5), Gazzola (5)


Star Man


Former Arsenal forward Gervinho looked the most threatening and lively of the Parma players. His raw pace troubled the organised Napoli defence a number of times, and if it wasn't for a brilliant tackle from Malcuit, he may have been rewarded with a goal. 

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Most of Parma's attacking play went through Gervinho, and it is clear that the Ivorian is a key part of Roberto D'Aversa's squad following his return from China. He was replaced by Schiappacasse in the 78th minute following an industrious display. 


Napoli


Key Talking Point

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For all of Napoli's fluidity in attack, it was a moment of individual skill which will go down as one of the standout moments of the game. Milik had been causing a number of problems for the Parma defence, getting into some good goal-scoring positions prior to his goal but it was from a set piece where he really punished Parma.

Midway through the first half, Milik was brought down right on the edge of the penalty area following a flowing attacking move from his teammates, and right away he looked very keen to take the resulting free kick. 

Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Having moved teammate Allan aside in the queue to take the free kick, it seemed that MIlik would have to attempt to get the ball up and over the wall very quickly as the free kick itself was only 20 yards out. 


It was in this moment of contemplation when Napoli teammate Koulibaly came over to have a word with the Polish front-man. Was it the imposing centre-half who instructed Milik to caress the ball under the wall? Milik will claim it was his idea every day of the week, but he still had to out the ball away, which he duly did. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Meret (6); Hysaj (6), Koulibaliy (7), Maksimovic (6), Malcuit (7); Zielinski (7), Fabian Ruiz (6), Allan (7), Callejon (8); Milik (9*), Mertens (8)


Substitutes:
Luperto (6), Verdi (6), Ounas (7)


Star Man


Napoli front-man Arkadiusz Milik had a game to remember against Parma. He terrorised the Parma defence who were glad to see the back of the Polish striker when he was subbed off in the 80th minute.

ISABELLA BONOTTO/GettyImages

He rounded off his impressive display with two top quality goals to take his tally in the league this season to 14, one from a free kick, the other a wonderfully curled strike from the edge of the area. 


He also linked well with fellow forward Dries Mertens, and Carlo Ancelotti will be impressed by the performance of his two attackers.


Looking Ahead


Parma will play relegation threatened Empoli in their next game in Serie A. Parma will be looking to get all three points from this game as they look to solidify their position in the middle of the table. 

Napoli's next game is a top of the table clash with leaders Juventus at the San Paolo Stadium. Carlo Ancelotti's team will be looking to close the gap on Juventus to something more respectable, whilst also putting more distance between themselves and Inter. 

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