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Coppa: Juve comeback enrages Napoli

Wednesday March 1 2017

Juventus fought back from a Jose Callejon goal to beat Napoli 3-1 in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final, but with contentious penalties.

See how the evening unfolded on the Liveblog.

Both Coaches made some surprise choices in this Coppa clash. Max Allegri switched to a 3-4-1-2 system with Paulo Dybala behind Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain. The Partenopei missed Allan, Lorenzo Tonelli and suspended Elseid Hysaj, but gave birthday boy Arkadiusz Milik his first start since rupturing knee ligaments in October.

Juventus had two early chances in quick succession, as first Paulo Dybala ran on to a Leonardo Bonucci long ball and forced Pepe Reina to save from point-blank range, then on the resulting corner Mario Mandzukic’s header was fingertipped over the bar.

Lorenzo Insigne and Marko Rog tested Norberto Neto from distance

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, as did Marek Hamsik’s volley after a Jose Callejon header.

Higuain was released by a smart Kwadwo Asamoah through ball, but fired over, and Napoli took the lead with a well-worked team goal.

Insigne and Milik completed a rapid give and go, the Italian crossing for Callejon’s volley into the ground, bouncing past Neto. It was the first time Napoli had ever taken the lead at the Juventus Stadium.

Reina had to perform an incredible double reaction save on Mandzukic’s volley and the Stephan Lichtsteiner follow-up from point-blank range on the stroke of half-time.

Allegri threw on the more attacking Juan Cuadrado for Lichtsteiner in the second half and within 30 seconds Kalidou Koulibaly had mistimed his tackle on Dybala for a penalty. La Joya got back up to convert it himself and level the scores.

Reina almost made a hash of his clearance on Cuadrado and did not learn from that experience, as he was caught in no man’s land on a Cuadrado cross from a corner, allowing Higuain to turn into an empty net from a tight angle.

There was huge controversy around the second goal, as Napoli wanted a spot-kick for a Miralem Pjanic trip on Raul Albiol and Juve went on the counter, Dybala rolling across for Cuadrado and Reina rushed off his line to take him down for a penalty. Though the goalkeeper appeared to get to the ball before clattering into the Colombian, he also took the player down with the ball very much still in play and within reach. Dybala converted into the same near corner as the first.

The tension escalated with several bookings for dissent over that decision. Sami Khedira also saw his attempt deflected for a corner off Koulibaly.

Juventus 3-1 Napoli

Callejon 36 (N), Dybala pens 47, 69 (J), Higuain 64 (J)

Juventus: Neto; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Cuadrado 46), Khedira, Pjanic, Asamoah (Alex Sandro 73); Dybala (Pjaca 84); Mandzukic, Higuain

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Strinic; Rog (Pavoletti 82), Diawara, Hamsik (Zielinski 56); Callejon, Milik (Mertens 61), Insigne

Ref: Valeri

Source: Football Italia

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