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Serie A

  • September 24, 2011
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
  • Referee: P. Valeri
  • • Attendance: 45000

Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina: Stubborn visitors shut out Cavani and Co. in engaging stalemate

Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina: Stubborn visitors shut out Cavani and Co. in engaging stalemate

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A tactical masterclass from Sinisa Mihajlovic meant La Viola earned a fantastic point away from home in what was a mesmerizing encounter.

Fiorentina earned a hard-fought point against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo, frustrating the hosts in a 0-0 draw. In a frenetic game with few real clear-cut chances, the best effort of the contest went to Cesare Natali, whose first-half header was well saved by De Sanctis.

After Walter Mazzarri's experimental line-up at Chievo flattered to deceive in midweek, it was back to full strength for the Partenopei against Fiorentina: Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik all returning to the starting XI.

For the Viola however, it was a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it': 10 of the 11 that started against Parma on Wednesday returned, looking to continue Fiorentina's impressive recent record at the San Paolo, where it had lost only once in their previous seven trips.

That fantastic recent record in Naples was proving worthless in the opening exchanges though, with Juan Zuniga providing the most obvious threat to the Florentines' defense. His direct running and pinpoint crossing proved difficult to handle. Fortunately for the Viola, the movement of Lavezzi and Cavani was, for once, disappointing.

Eventually, Fiorentina's counterattacking style was got it into the game. By crowding the midfield and not allowing Inler and Gargano time on the ball, the Tuscans dictated the pace of the match and threatened heavily down the right hand side through Alessio Cerci.

Cesare Natali had the best chance of the half on 42 minutes, though. Vargas whipped in a free kick from the left-hand touchline, and he found the 32-year-old central defender, who rose above his markers but saw his point-blank header saved by De Sanctis.

The second half started in an anonymous fashion, and didn't really get going until 60th minute, when, in the space of 45 seconds, Salvatore Aronica had a good effort palmed over by Boruc and from the resulting corner, Hamsik had what looked like a good penalty appeal turned down.

The remainder of the half was frantic and technically poor, with Napoli going on wave after wave of attacks, and Fiorentina keeping the door firmly shut. Credit though has to go to Sinisa Mihajlovic, who got it tactically spot on, and frustrated the home side for the entire 90 minutes.