Napoli are in crisis after suffering a shock 1-0 home defeat to Chievo with Gonzalo Higuain’s penalty saved. The Flying Donkeys have a good record here, drawing 1-1 last season and winning 3-1 in 2011. Season ticket sales have plummeted at the San Paolo and some fans protested at the transfer strategy, but Jonathan De Guzman’s last-gasp strike had given Napoli a Week 1 victory at Genoa. Faouzi Ghoulam was still out with a fractured arm and the visitors missed Ezequiel Schelotto. The hosts gave a debut to their new Denim kit and Jose Callejon’s early effort was bravely charged down in the box by Bostjan Cesar, while Francesco Bardi flew to palm away a Gonzalo Higuain header and parried from Marek Hamsik. Cesar tripped Higuain as he tried to burst into the box for an inevitable penalty. Pipita got back up to take the spot-kick himself, but it was brilliantly saved by Inter-owned Bardi. That was the 15th penalty Napoli have failed to convert in the last five Serie A seasons. Chievo almost added to Napoli’s misery moments later, as Maxi Lopez sprung the offside trap to hit the crossbar. Bardi got down well again to beat away a smart Lorenzo Insigne volley with the outside of the boot. Insigne had another attempt charged down by Nicolas Frey. Goalkeeper Bardi was acrobatic to beat a Juan Camilo Zuniga blockbuster out from under the bar and it proved decisive, as moments later Chievo scored. Lazarevic won back the ball and sent through Maxi Lopez for a precise angled drive to silence the Stadio San Paolo with his first goal since February. The crowd jeered loudly 60 seconds later when Insigne ballooned over from a promising position, then Bardi was at full stretch to deny Hamsik and Gokhan Inler. Ruben Botta even threatened to double Chievo’s lead, firing just wide. Inter-owned Italy Under-21 international goalkeeper Bardi confirmed his Man of the Match status with a stoppage-time save on Duvan Zapata’s header.
Football SERIE A