Napoli 3 – 1 Sassuolo | Match Reaction & Player Ratings

Napoli XI:
Reina, Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam, Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik (Zielinski 68′), Callejon (Rog 75′), Mertens, Insigne (Giaccherini 79′)

Sassuolo XI:
Consigli, Gazzola, Cannavaro, Acerbi, Peluso, Mazzitelli (Pierini 71′), Sensi, Cassata, Politano, Falcinelli (Scamacca 85′), Ragusa (Missiroli 56′)

Goals:
Allan 22′ Falcinelli 41′ Callejon 44′ Mertens 54′

Reaction:

Napoli were a bit slow to start but did enough to create some half chances as the game developed. Allan got the go ahead goal on some nice pressing that allowed him to steal the ball and put the Azzurri up 1-0. The Partenopei really seemed to settle in after that and started to pin Sassuolo in its own half while dominating possession.  Just as it seemed another matchday turned training session, Falcinelli brought Sassuolo level 1-1 as he made a nice movement and headered in a perfect cross from Politano. Napoli was somewhat lucky to have their deserved lead restored right before the half on a corner by Callejon that found it’s way directly into the back of the net due to some chaos at the near corner.

In the second half, it was one of Napoli’s quieter players, Dries Mertens that brought the Azzurri up 3-1 as he finished off what looked to be a clever practiced play off a corner. Sassuolo were awarded a penalty kick on the 64th minute which was then rightfully overturned by the VAR as Chiriches’ tackle occurred outside the box. Napoli was able to see of the match from there and now will look forward to their critical mid-week clash against Manchester City as the Partenopei look to collect some much needed points to help their chances of moving forward int he Champions League.

Match Ratings:

Reina (6.25): Looked reactive early and did well not to get duped by a tricky corner that could have wound up directly in goal. Nothing he could do to stop the goal.

Maggio (6.75): Pleasantly surprising performance from ‘Superbike’ who was one of Napoli’s best players on the pitch today. Put in his contribution up and down the flank providing some interesting crosses as well. I thought it was one of his better performances under Sarri as he really just seemed to fit in as another efficient piece in the well oiled machine Sarri has built. Could prove a valuable alternative moving forward. Nice to see the Napoli veteran finish the match with the captain’s armband.

Albiol (6.5): Lost the aerial duel with Falcinelli on the Sassuolo goal but it was a nice move and finish by the forward. Got a nice assist on the corner heading the ball across to Mertens for the easy finish.

Chiriches (5.75):  Vlad had some solid stretches but was also guilty of that awkward foul at the edge of the box which almost cost his side a penalty kick (it was overturned by instant replay). The occassional mental lapse seems to be what holds him back from being a truly solid defender.

Ghoulam (7): Linked up well with Insigne throughout the match and had an incredible right footed volley denied by the woodwork early. A constant threat in the attacking half and absolutely vital to this Napoli side. All supporters will be hoping that the latest renewal rumors are true though we’ve certainly learned to be skeptical of them at this point.

Allan (7): Typical gritty performance from the Brazilian in midfield and was rewarded for his effort with a goal which came as he stole the ball from a Sassuolo defender. Added some nice spurts of dribbling as well.

Jorginho (6.5): Pulled the strings in the midfield as usual with the help of Hamsik. I love watching him demand the ball but also tell the ball carrier where to go when he’s not the best option.

Hamsik (6.5): Was very lively early and found himself in the right spot on a few occasions in the first half but should have done better with his finishing. Helped with distributing in the middle and gave a solid defensive effort as well.

Callejon (6.75): Should have done better when he was though on goal after Sassuolo’s tying goal but made up for it by later putting his corner kick directly into goal even if seemed more a question of luck than skill. Made his presence felt on the right flank.

Mertens (6.75): It was somewhat of a quiet first half from Dries who you would have expected to see more of in such a dominating Napoli performance but as a true striker, just as you were wondering about him, he showed up in the right place at the right time to give Napoli a more comfortable 3-1 lead early in the second half.

Insigne (7): Always more of a leader in this Napoli side. Added his usual creativity and skill to the Napoli attack while also seen constantly encouraging his side on with positive words and applause for his teammates throughout the match.

Subs:

Zielinski (6): Came on and unfortunately gave up possession too easily on a few occasions. However, the young Pole almost bagged another impressive goal near the close of the match with a left footed stroke from outside the box that hit both posts.

Rog (6.25): Nice to see him get time as vice-Callejon again. Provided some bursts of energy and speed down the right flank.

Giaccherini (N/A):

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