Napoli fought back from a goal down to secure a 2-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday evening - thanks to a last minute penalty awarded through VAR, mathematically guaranteeing second place in Serie A.

The first half passed by with very little goalmouth action for either side, as both defences came out on top. Napoli came closest to opening the scoring through Amin Younes, but the German's shot narrowly avoided both the far post and the outstretched leg of Kalidou Koulibaly.


Things got off to a slow start again after the interval, but Cagliari surprisingly took the lead 15 minutes after the restart. The visitors took advantage of some sloppy play in the middle of the park and, following some neat work from Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Pavoletti stroked the ball past Alex Meret.

Napoli responded well and, after piling on the pressure, found an equalising goal through Dries Mertens, heading past the impressive Alessio Cragno in the Cagliari goal. 


Just when it looked as though Napoli were going to have to settle for a draw, they went on to snatch a late winner from the penalty spot following a VAR referral. Lorenzo Insigne stepped up and confidently tucked the ball home, confirming the win for I Partenopei.

Check out the breakdown of the game below.

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Key Talking Point

There is a danger that, as Napoli have little to play for until the end of the season, they may find themselves coasting for their remaining games.


Those fears came true in this one as they were well off the pace for much of the game. Cagliari did sit deep to make things difficult for Napoli, but Carlo Ancelotti's men looked rather uninspired whenever they broke into the final third and seemed bereft of ideas on occasions.

They sparked into life after they fell behind and did well to fight back for the win, but it was by no means convincing. Ancelotti may have some work to do this summer if he is to bridge the gap to Juve.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Meret (6); Hysaj (6), Koulibaly (6), Albiol (5), Ghoulam (6); Verdi (4), Allan (5), Zielinski (5), Younes (6); Insigne (5), Mertens (6).

Substitutes: Callejon (5), Ruiz (6), Milik (4).

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Star Man - Dries Mertens

Not a special nor memorable performance from Mertens, but he was there when his side needed him most, as he has been so many times in the past.

His header saw him surpass Diego Maradona in Napoli's Serie A scorers list and it is a well-deserved achievement for a player who has been a loyal servant to the club over the past few seasons. 

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Player Ratings

Starting XI: Cragno (7); Cacciatore (6), Ceppitelli (7), Romagna (6), Lykogiannis (5); Deiola (5), Cigarini (6), Ionita (6); Barella (7), Cerri (5), Pavoletti (6).

Substitutes: Padoin (5), Joao Pedro (6), Pisacane (N/A).

Looking Ahead

Napoli have a week off before they travel to face SPAL next Sunday, while Cagliari host Lazio on Saturday.