Napoli 2-2 Udinese: 45 Minutes of Brilliance, 45 Minutes of Boredom (Serie A Matchday 22)

…and Fabio Quagliarella. At the end of the day the main story of Napoli vs. Udinese, without a doubt, will be the Udinese striker’s fantastic 2-2 tally. The kind that Quagliarella has been known to do, the kind that has made us fall in love with this great player: side volley from outside the box, no chance for the opposing keeper.

And as much as Fab Quagl’s goal wonderfully capped the end of an exciting 45 minutes, Napoli vs. Udinese ended at half-time. The score did not change further in the second period and sealed the draw (more or less satisfactorily) for the two teams: Napoli halted their 3-game losing streak while Udinese, after their great mid-week performance vs. Juve, confirmed to be back in the driver’s seat.

As mentioned, everything essentially took place in the first half even though the first few minutes had little in entertaining value. The two teams defended cautiously, eyeing each other off (perhaps fearing each other), so that there was very little ball movement and rare shooting opportunities. Udinese were the first ones to break the ice through a from 25 metre free-kick just narrowly wide by Antonio Di Natale, but it was actually Napoli who would take the lead, and this at their first real scoring chance of the game.

Half way through the first half, Denis muscled off Coda, raced forward and passed the ball in to Lavezzi in the penalty area: Ezequiel Lavezzi‘s one-time effort deviated off Lukovic and snuck past a wrong-footed Handanovic. The visitors protested for what they presumed had been a foul by Denis, and the upshot of this was a heap of tension and a loss of concentration: a few minutes later Napoli made it two, as Marek Hamsik was left completely unmarked and pounced on a pass from a Gargano free-kick. 1-0and 2-0 Napoli within minutes.

Udinese could not believe their eyes because according to the current pace of the game, being two goals down was severely undeserved. The visitors showed great spirit by not losing heart, and were perhaps also given a helping hand by a Paolo Cannavaro error (upending Zapata inside the box) which resulted in Di Natale’s penalty-kick and subsequent goal. 2-1.

From that moment Reja’s team tried to win back control of the match… with little success. Partly because Udinese had built up a wall in front of their box, and partly because Lavezzi seemed more intent at looking to be fouled in the box than anything else. Instead, it was Quagliarella who scored with a fantastic individual feat, a shot hit on the full from outside the area and impossible to save due to its lightning-fast execution and angled trajectory. 2-2.

The half-time essentially marked the end of the game: Napoli moved in a more fluid manner in the second period, but Udinese were very careful in defence. It seemed that the fire from the first half had exhausted all the fuel, and the game dragged on without providing many emotional highlights. For neutral spectators that was okay: Quagliarella’s goal alone was worth the price of the match ticket.


 S.S.C. Napoli
[Match Highlights]
 Udinese Calcio
GOALSCORERS: 24’ Lavezzi (N), 27’ Hamsik (N), 32’ pen. Di Natale (U), 45’ Quagliarella (U).
NAPOLI (3-5-2): Navarro – Cannavaro, Rinaudo, Contini – Maggio (67’ Zalayeta), Blasi, Gargano, Hamsik, Vitale – Denis, Lavezzi. (bench: Sepe, Santacroce, Aronica, Pazienza, Bogliacino, Pià). Coach: Reja.
UDINESE (4-4-2): Handanovic – Ferronetti (72’ Pasquale), Coda, Zapata, Lukovic – Isla, D’Agostino, Inler, Asamoah – Quagliarella (84’ Floro Flores), Di Natale (66’ Sanchez). (bench: Belardi, Felipe, Obodo, Pepe). Coach: Marino.


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Posted in Napoli, Serie A, Udinese |

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