Wasteful Napoli allows AS Roma to grab equalizer in dying minutes

In a match full of opportunities, the protagonists were Victor Osimhen and Paulo Dybala
SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A TIM
SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A TIM / Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Fifth-place Roma paid a visit to defending Serie A champions Napoli on Saturday and both teams put on quite a show.

In the absence of Romelu Lukaku, Roma coach Daniele De Rossi deployed Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun in attack while Evan N'Dicka returned to the defense after missing the Udinese game with an illness.

There were two scoring chances in the early going. AS Roma nearly scored off a corner kick, but Napoli's Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen sped off in the other direction and the counter showed promise when defender N'Dicka slipped. But Osimhen's shot was blocked.

As time passed, the hosts took control with Osimhen testing goalkeeper Mile Svilar twice.

The Nigerian attacker then nearly collected an assist, releasing Zambo Anguissa with a header that surprised the Roma defensive line positioned at the midfield line. Anguissa was in alone but kicked very badly, wasting this favorable opportunity.

Then Napoli's Georgian talent Khvicha Kvaratskhelia attempted a shot that require a great technical intervention by Roma netminder Mile Svila.

Before the end of the half, Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo hit a free kick that clipped the far post.

The scoreless first half came to an end with Napoli in full control. Lukaku's absence weighed heavily on the guests, as his formidable presence in the offensive zone is always very impactful

Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala has a perfect score with the AS Roma shirt. In fact he scored 12 penalties out of 12 attempts / Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

The first interesting action of the second half was the consequence of an initiative by Osimhen who unleashed his explosive speed on the left side of the pitch and then served up a ball to Matteo Politano who sprayed his shot high.

In the 57th minute, Azmoun got behind defender Juan Jesus who took the second-choice striker down in the penalty area. Roma's spot kick specialist Paulo Dybala made no mistake and the visitors were ahead even as Napoli was playing better.

Napoli's reaction was immediate and the equalizer came in the 64th minute when left back Mathias Olivera's shot took a crazy bounce off a deflection and Svila who could do nothing about it.

The Giallorossi barely regained their composure before the Azzurri went on the attack again and a header from Osimhen came very close.

The match continued at a rapid pace and the Giallorossi were led by captain Lorenzo Pellegrini who ripped a shot that the the attentive Alex Meret blocked well.

Shortly afterwards, Napoli substitute Cyril Ngonge fired from distance, just missing the target.

Ngonge then sent Osimhen long and he accelerated past defender Gianluca Mancini only to see Svilar make a great save.

In the 81st minute, a penalty was awarded to Napoli and Osimhen converted, putting Napoli in the lead and deservedly so.

Roma's reaction was not long in coming. Dybala led a move forward which produced a corner kick and Roma is particularly dangerous on set pieces. English striker Tammy Abraham found room to knock a header in the net.


In the final minutes Napoli tried to claim victory with an offensive incursion by defender Amir Rrahmani whose shot was bobbled by Svilar, but Mancini's sliding intervention preceded Osimhen's arrival. The final whistle came a few minutes later with Napoli and Roma spitting the points.