2-5: Napoli, Barça’s rival, eliminated by Fiorentina

One month before facing the Europa League playoff against Barça, Napoli were eliminated in the round of 16 of the Italian Coppa after being defeated in extra time by Fiorentina at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium with an overwhelming 2-5.

The game had everything, with three sent off in the 90 minutes of regulation and many alternatives. Napoli, despite the red cards for Hirving Lozano and Fabián Ruiz after both came on as a refresher during the second half, forced extra time with a goal in added time (2-2), but fatigue took its toll on their players and Fiorentina ended up imposing its numerical superiority.

Naples, with casualties and almost no public

Napoli returned to face the match with the notable casualties of Koulibaly, Zambo Anguissa and Ounas, with their teams in the Africa Cup, and the injured Osimhen and Insigne, who retired on Sunday during the league win against Sampdoria (1-0 ).

In addition, Naples could not count on the massive support of its fans since the Diego Armando Maradona stadium presented a soulless appearance since the new restrictions adopted by the authorities due to the Covid-19 pandemic only allow the presence of a maximum of 5,000 fans in the stands.

the flower dominates

The first part was clearly dominated by Fiorentina while Napoli waited in their plot waiting to steal the ball to go on the counterattack and exploit their direct football.

The coveted Dusan Vlahovic showed his danger in the area in his first notable appearance. It was in the 12th minute when the Serbian striker received on the edge of the area and his great cross shot with his left foot was saved by David Ospina with a brilliant intervention.

The coveted Vlahovic opens the scoring

Finally, Fiorentina saw their dominance translated into scoring shortly before the break. Vlahovic received Riccardo Saponara in the area ahead of Axel Tuanzebe’s action, in his first starting match after arriving at Napoli on loan from Manchester United, and the Serbian crossed the net with his left foot before Ospina left (41′ ). It is the 19th goal in 23 games this season for the striker ‘viola’, top scorer in Serie A with 16.

Mertens equalizes and red to Dragowski

However, Fiorentina’s hard-won lead was short-lived. In a first-half ending that had the excitement the match had been missing until then, captain Dries Mertens equalized in the 44th minute by receiving short from Andrea Petagna and carelessly placing the ball out of Ospina’s reach with a touch precious.

There was still more before the break. Already in stoppage time, Lorenzo Venuti headed back a long ball, but he did not realize that Bartlomiej Dragowski had left his goal and the goalkeeper had no choice but to knock Eljif Elmas out of the area, who was left alone, and saw the direct red.

Vincenzo Italiano retired Alfred Duncan to bring on substitute goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano. At the break there was also a change under the sticks at Napoli, as Luciano Spalletti swapped Ospina for Alex Meret.

Napoli, in numerical superiority, became dominant in the second half. Diego Demme made it 2-1 with a shot coming from behind, but Terracciano reacted with reflexes (50′).

Fiorentina advances in inferiority

However, Fiorentina advanced again with a great goal from Cristiano Biraghi (58′). The left-back took a free kick against the barrier, but the rebound fell in time to accommodate the ball from his right boot to his left foot and he nailed it next to the post with a high-quality kick.

Spalletti brought on Fabián Ruiz and Hirving Lozano in the 64th minute for Demme and Politano, but Nico González made it 1-3 by finishing off the clouds in an unbeatable position.

Lozano and Fabián see the red but Petagna draws

La Fiore was able to pay dearly when Lozano ended a run with a low shot to the short post that repelled the woodwork (80′). But the Mexican did Napoli a disservice with a tough tackle at Nico González’s ankle. The referee initially showed him a yellow card but, after resorting to VAR, corrected it and sent him off with a direct red card (84′).

Napoli were between the ropes and, in addition, Fabián Ruiz saw the second yellow card in 93′ for a push from Lucas Torreira. But, playing with nine, he made use of the epic to force extra time in the 95th minute when, after a center from the right by Kelvin Malcuit that passed between several players, Petagna received alone and shot Terracciano at will.

Three goals sentence Napoli

In extra time, Napoli defended like a cat belly up and Meret resisted until a cross from the left by Youssef Maleh finished it off to the net on the other side Venuti with a spectacular volley with the inside of his right foot that slipped in close to the pole (115′).

La Fiore, in numerical superiority, did not allow themselves to be surprised again and sentenced with the fourth goal, the work of Krzysztof Piatek from near the goal after an assist from Venuti (108′). With Napoli already surrendered, Maleh completed the little hand after receiving from the newly signed Jonathan Ikoné and putting the ball between Meret’s legs.

Napoli: Ospina (Meret, 46′); Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Tuanzebe, Ghoulam (Malcuit, 85′); Demme (Fabián Ruiz, 64′), Lobotka (Cioffi, 91′); Politano (Hirving Lozano, 64′), Mertens, Elmas; Petagna (Juan Jesus, 91′)
​Fiorentina: Dragowski; Venuti, Milenkovic, Nastasic (Igor, 91′), Biraghi: Duncan (Terracciano, 45′), Lucas Torreira, Castrovilli (Bonaventura, 89′); Nicolás González (Ikoné, 89′), Vlahovic (Piatek, 73′) and Saponara (Maleh, 46′)
Goals: 0-1, Vlahovic (41′); 1-1, Mertens (44′); 1-2, Biraghi (57′); 2-2, Petgana (90+5′); 2-3, Venuti (105+1′): 2-4, Piatek (108′); 2-5, Maleh (119′)
Referee. Giovanni Ayroldi. Direct Rojas to Dragowski (45+2′) and Lozano (84′) and Fabián Ruiz due to a double warning (77′ and 93′). Yellow cards to Duncan (23′), Rrahmani (56′), Castrovilli (59′) and Tuanzebe (85′)

see game file