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Napoli 1-1 Torino: Partenopei held by coachless Toro

Napoli Torino

Napoli and Torino shared the points at the Stadio Maradona in Serie A on Friday evening following strikes from Khvicha Kvaratskehlia and Antonio Sanabria, but it was the hosts who were disappointed not to come away with victory on home turf.

The Partenopei were without Jens Cajuste and Cyril Ngonge through injury, but were able to welcome Amir Rrahmani back into the matchday squad. Torino had to do without their coach on the touchline, who served the second game of his two-match ban. Samuele Ricci was also suspended, while Ivan Ilic, Matteo Lovato, Perr Schuurs and Adrien Tameze missed out through injury.

Napoli’s first serious opportunity came after a quarter of an hour. Some tidy work from Matteo Politano in a central area provided an opportunity to free Kvaratskhelia in the area, who evaded Ricardo Rodriguez’s sliding challenge, but fired his shot straight towards the onrushing Vanja Milinkovic-Savic one-on-one.

Osimhen had another decent chance to put Napoli ahead following an inch-perfect delivery off the right flank from Anguissa, but the Niegrian’s header ended up coming off his shoulder and sailed wide for a goal kick.

Napoli ‘keeper Alex Meret was called into action for the first time just shy of the half hour mark. Duvan Zapata fired a venomous snap-shot in from the edge of the area after Torino pinched possession in the middle of the park, which required quick reactions and a strong wrist from the Partenopei stopper to keep the scores level.

Play was halted on several occasions around the 30th minute. Giovanni Di Lorenzo looked to be struggling with his ankle after a collision with Zapata, and then Alessandro Buiongiorno went down after a coming together with Matteo Politano. Both were able to continue in the end after on-pitch treatment.

Ricardo Rodriguez had a decent opportunity from a free-kick in an inviting area, just outside the D of Napoli’s penalty area, but his shot clipped the wall and sailed wide for a corner. Napoli cleared and then broke with Kvaratskhelia, who launched an ambitious lob from the halfway-line, which did not pay off in the way he had been hoping.

Shortly afterwards, the Georgian had another great opportunity in the area, moving well to get himself in front of his defender, before stretching and placing a decent header on target. Milinkovic-Savic did well to keep him out again.

Though neither team could apply the finishing touches in the final third, it was Napoli who had enjoyed the better of the chances by the interval.

Torino came out for the second half with a new lease of life, and it was they who showed the more encouraging signs in the opening exchanges of the second half.

That being said, it was Napoli who would go on to draw first blood. In an end-to-end manoeuvre, Juan Jesus dispossessed Vlasic, before launching a Partenopei counter attack.
Mario Rui made a run on the overlap, received the ball and sent a perfect delivery in towards the front post, where Kvaratskhelia arrived in time to poke home for 1-0.

Almost immediately afterwards, however, Torino were level. A Gvidas Gineitis corner took a few touches off heads in the area, before substitute Sanabria launched himself up for an acrobatic bicycle kick on the edge of the penalty area.

Napoli protested for offside, but VAR saw no evidence to rule the goal out, and so Torino were back level again at 1-1.

Napoli had a couple of chances from a series of corners around the 75th minute, including one from Osimhen and another from Juan Jesus, both of which required intervention from Milinkovic-Savic.

It was all Napoli entering the final exchanges. Kvaratskhelia looked destined to fins the winner with some of his efforts, but Torino continued to defend their area superbly well, even if Milinkovic-Savic was almost beaten by a cross-shot from the Georgian four minutes from time.

Napoli found themselves relatively frustrated by the time Daniele Orsato blew for full time; they had barely had the ball in their own half for the final 10 or 15 minutes of play. But credit to Torino, who put in another resilient defensive display.

Napoli still find themselves in seventh in the Serie A standings as a result, while Torino stay put in 10th. Both could be knocked down again depending on other results over the course of this weekend.