By 90Min
September 29, 2019

S.S.C. Napoli returned to winning ways in Serie A thanks to Kostas Manolas' match-winning strike against Brescia Calcio at Stadio San Paolo.

Dries Mertens needed just 12 minutes to put Napoli in front, but his simple finish was overshadowed by a stunning pass from in-form midfielder Fabián Ruiz Peña in the build-up, as well as José Callejón's assist.

Napoli's one-goal lead appeared to become two when Manolas bundled the ball over the line from a corner, but the Video Assistant Referee rightly intervened after replays showed the defender handled the ball.

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Mertens and Piotr Zieliński missed chances to double their lead, but Manolas eventually did see his name go up in lights thanks to a header just before the half-time whistle.

Brescia wonderkid Sandro Tonali saw a stunning long-range effort ruled out just minutes after the break after the VAR intervened once again, but Mario Balotelli was able to half the deficit with a powerful header from a corner.

The visitors continued to push for another but couldn't find another way past David Ospina, with Napoli seeing the match out to pick up just their second home win of the season.


NAPOLI

Key Talking Point

It might have been a comfortable afternoon for Napoli on the whole, but a huge chunk of their success on Sunday came from the timing of their two opening goals against Brescia.

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

I Partenopei scored with their first real chance just over ten minutes into the match, something which helped them get control as Brescia knew they'd have to push forward more than manager Eugenio Corini would have planned for.

Manolas' late first half header and Tonali's disallowed goal the other side of half-time left Brescia deflated too, all-but ending any chance the visitors had of getting back into the match even though Balotelli did pull one back.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Ospina (6); Di Lorenzo (6), Manolas (8), Maksimovic (6), Ghoulam (7); Callejon (7), Allan (7), Fabian (8*), Zielinski (7); Mertens (8), Llorente (7).

Substitutes: Luperto (6), Elmas (5), Hysaj (6).


STAR PLAYER - This could be any number of Napoli players, as some fantastic performances were put in across the board from Carlo Ancelotti's side. 

Manolas and Faouzi Ghoulam impressed in defence, Piotr Zieliński and Allan bossed the midfield, while Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente were always a threat in attack.

But it was Fabián Ruiz who brought everything together at Stadio San Paolo this weekend, keeping possession ticking over while also popping up at both ends of the pitch to make the difference for Napoli.




The Spain international was one of Napoli's best players last season and his form has continued into this campaign, so it's no surprise to see Barcelona making scouting trips to southern Italy as they consider a move for Fabián.


BRESCIA

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Joronen (7); Sabelli (5), Cistana (5), Chancellor (6), Martella (4); Bisoli (6), Tonali (7), Dessena (5), Spalek (7); Balotelli (7), Donnarumma (6).

SSC Napoli v Brescia Calcio - Serie A

Substitutes: Mateju (6), Romulo (6), Matri (6).


Looking Ahead

Carlo Ancelotti's side break for Champions League football in midweek where they'll travel to face Belgian giants Genk, looking to build on their 2-0 win over Liverpool on matchday one of the group stages.

Napoli are then on the road to Torino when Serie A action returns next weekend.

You May Like