Napoli were looking to end their poor record against Genoa who have been in erratic form of late. However, a combination of factors prevented them from winning as both teams played out a goalless draw. It was raining hard at the San Paolo stadium and small puddles were formed on the side of pitch. The playing surface was slippery throughout the match and players were finding it difficult to control the ball for large portions of the game. Furthermore, the referee and luck was not on Napoli’s side as a large number of 50-50 decisions went against them.
If Marcello Lippi watched the game, Domenico Criscito would certainly have made a strong case for his inclusion in la Nazionale. The left-back did not set a foot wrong in the entire match. His only mistake came towards the end of second half as he earned a yellow for a tackle on Juan Camilo Zuniga as the Colombian was about to slip past him. Criscito was positioned impeccably throughout the match and he handled defensive and offensive duties well. In the first half, the first shot of the game came as a result of Criscito’s free-kick on 17th minute as it was parried away by Morgan De Sanctis. If Criscito keeps up performances of this kind, there is no reason why he cannot replace the aging and declining Fabio Grosso permanently.
For some reason, Fabio Quagliarella was pumped up throughout the match. He made a few unnecessary tackles, argued with the referee for every decision and attempted four shots but ultimately could not translate the energy into a goal. His strike partner German Denis was also guilty of missing at least one gilt-edged chance. The Argentine forward’s wastefulness and selfishness was visible on more than one occasion.
Napoli’s right-back Christian Maggio, who is also vying for a place in national team, hardly set the game alight. In fact, the Azzurri’s best player on the pitch was Paolo Cannavaro who kept speedster David Suazo in shackles and made several interceptions. He even produced a wicked shot that rattled the crossbar after a one-two exchange with Denis. Andrea Dossena made his first Serie A appearance since returning from his nightmare spell at Liverpool. He was brought on as substitute for last half hour and had a pretty decent game for all the flak he received on Merseyside. Apart from the runs and crosses on the left wing, his delicious back-heel to release Luca Cigarini on the left wing will be noted.
The Partenopei have now kept clean sheets in six consecutive league games. But that alone is not enough and as Coach Walter Mazzarri has commented in the past, they need to be more clinical in front of goal. Napoli were definitely the better side yesterday and their fans will rue the two lost points. On the other hand, Genoa did not put in enough work to trouble Napoli. Given that il Grifone have the second worst defensive record this season, Gian Piero Gasperini will be happy to emerge unscathed and earn a point from this encounter.