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Italy - Serie A
September 18, 2011
• Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
Referee: P. Tagliavento
• Attendance: 58000
E. Cavani 13', 36', 51'
A. Aquilani 12'
And that's full time. After a slow start, Napoli, and Cavani come back to record a huge 3-1 win over the champions.
90' + 2'
There's just over a minute of stoppage time left and although Milan have a lot of the ball in the Napoli half, the hosts are fine to deal with it and even look more threatening than the visitors on the break. Pandev plays the ball to Dzemaili, but the Swiss' shot goes well over.
It's an easy save for De Sanctis from Stephan El Shaarawi as the youngster shoots from 25 yards into the 'keeper's hands.
Emmanuelson crosses the ball into the middle, but the ball somehow misses both Cassano and Pato, and Napoli bring the ball forward.
A masterful piece of control by Pato is bested by Zuniga who comes round and wins the ball from the Brazilian on the cover. It just isn't Pato's day.
Edison Cavani is masterfully picked out, but under pressure from Thiago Silva, his left footed shot is easily saved by Abbiati.
After the doubts over his fitness, Ezequiel Lavezzi is withdrawn and is replaced by Goran Pandev to a standing ovation from the whole crowd.
Lavezzi plays the ball down the left towards Zuniga, but the pass is over-hit and Nesta buys a throw in off the 25-year-old.
Napoli threaten on the break once more as a defence splitting pass from Cavani picks out Lavezzi, but the Argentine's shot is weak and goes goes well wide. Dzemaili was open in the middle, and could have been the better option for the 26-year-old.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Yellow Card Luca Antonini
Luca Antonini becomes the seventh man to go into the book tonight for tugging Edinson Cavani down.
Dzemaili lines up a left footed shot from just outside the area, and although Abbiati was unsure and at full stretch for that, the Switzerland midfielder's shot goes narrowly wide.
Yellow Card Edinson Cavani
Antonini seizes on a loose ball and cuts in from the left before shooting with his right foot. The shot is tame and trickles wide. Milan seemingly devoid of ideas at the moment.
Yellow Card W. Gargano
Gargano gets a yellow card for clattering into Aquilani. The Milan man made a meal of that, but it was clumsy from the Uruguayan.
Napoli win a corner from Thiago Silva on the right wing, but Seedorf heads the ball clear at the near post. Poor delivery again from Lavezzi.
Cassani gets in behind the Napoli defence and chips the wall to the back post, but Pato mistimes the header and it goes over.
Cassano plays the ball to Pato who receives the ball with his back to goal, before turning and shooting, but his strike is a long way off the mark.
And just like that, AC Milan make a double change. Emmanuelson and Antonino come on for Van Bommel and Bonera - it looks as though Allegri is looking to exploit the flanks.
Mark van Bommel
First change of the game, and Marek Hamsik, who hasn't been at his best, is being replaced by Blerim Dzemaili.
Yellow Card Salvatore Aronica
Yellow Card Alessandro Nesta
Aronica and Nesta get a booking each, as the latter kicks out at the former, before shoving him. It looked as though the Milan legend grabbed his opponent by the neck there, and is perhaps lucky to not to see red.
Cannavaro plays a long ball forward forward towards Lavezzi, but Abate clears it easily.
Seedorf swings in a free-kick, but Cannavaro makes sure Thiago Silva doesn't get his second goal of the week.
Every clearance is being rapturously applauded by the Neapolitan crowd. The San Paolo is rocking right now.
Yellow Card Alexandre Pato
Pato is booked for diving after trying to buy a free kick (or maybe even a penalty) from Aronica right on the edge of the Napoli area. He probably should have been booked in the first half for that push on Maggio.
Goal Edinson Cavani
3-1. Cavani completes his fifth Napoli hat-trick. Lavezzi crosses the ball in from the right, and Alessandro Nesta's poor clearance falls straight into the Uruguayan's path, who finishes with aplomb. Big blow to Milan's chances of getting back into this.
Milan are dominant in possession once more, but aren't carving Napoli open. Cassano's tame cross is pounced upon by De Sanctis.
Lavezzi works the ball to Hamsik, but the Slovakian's shot from the edge of the box is poorly executed and it goes well over.
The teams are back out and AC Milan get the second half started.
And that's half time. A great first half from the hosts, and great goals from Aquilani and Cavani in the first half. Are Napoli going to improve their woeful record against Milan, or can the Champions come back.
Clarence Seedorf feeds Aquilani, who strikes the ball goal-ward from 30 yards, but his right-footed shot goes narrowly wide of De Sanctis' goal.
Gargano goes in strongly on Nocerino, bundling over the former Palermo man.
Milan goalscorer Aquilani gives away a free kick just inside his own half with a foul on Inler.
Aquilani misses a great chance to make it 2-2. The former Liverpool man is wide open in the middle of the goal and is played in by Cassano, but De Sanctis stretches out a leg to deny the 27-year-old. Aquilani completely lost Campagnaro there, poor from the Napoli defender.
Assist W. Gargano
Goal Edinson Cavani
And that's 2-1!! Gargano picks up the ball and charges forward from his own half to the edge of the Milan box before feeding Cavani, who unleashes an unstoppable shot which Abbiati can do nothing about. Incredible counter-attacking goal.
Pato's temper gets the better of him as he pushes Maggio after conceding a foul. Napoli have a free kick in the same position from which they scored their goal, but Lavezzi's delivery is poor this time, and Milan get it away.
Milan play the corner short to Abate and the 24-year-old overruns the ball, gifting Napoli a goal kick.
Seedorf's shot hits Cavani in the wall and bounces out for a corner.
Pato wins another free kick, this time just outside the Napoli box.
Inler fouls Aquilani and Milan have a free kick just inside the Napoli half.
A great ball from Lavezzi picks out Dossena on the left wing, but the former Liverpool man's cross is easily cleared by Nesta.
The game seems to be lacking the fluency of the opening quarter of an hour. Cassano is penalised for a non-existent nudge of Aronica.
Maggio wins a corner off Clarence Seedorf on the Napoli right wing, but Lavezzi's delivery goes straight into Abbiati's hands.
And Gokhan Inler blasts the resulting free kick high and wide from 30 yards.
Yellow Card Antonio Nocerino
Lavezzi has taken a knock under a heavy challenge from Nocerino, who picks up a booking for the tackle.
A great counter attack from Napoli down the left results in Dossena crossing the ball in towards Cavani, but the Uruguayan mishits the shot.
Good goalkeeping from Di Sanctis as comes out to claim the ball at the on-rushing Pato's feet.
Salvatore Aronica heads away Seedorf's cross.
Just under two minutes between the two goals and back to square one for the champions. Pato is fouled by Gokhan Inler outside the Napoli box and Seedorf is standing over the free kick.
Assist Christian Maggio
Goal Edinson Cavani
And another goal!! Edinson Cavani gets the hosts on level terms after Ezequiel Lavezzi's free-kick is nodded into the Uruguayan's path by Maggio, and the Cavani half-volleys in his 35th Napoli goal.
Assist Antonio Cassano
Goal Alberto Aquilani
AND A GOAL! Milan's possession pays off as Alberto Aquilani nods in Cassano's cross from the penalty spot. 1-0 to the champions, and a great header from the former Roma midfielder.
Quick feet from Pato, but the Brazilian never gets the ball down to pick his shot, and Campagnaro picks his pocket and clears.
Alessandro Nesta wins a free kick after an aerial tussle with Lavezzi.
Inler wins the ball in midfield and feeds Lavezzi, who moves forward, but elects to shoot as opposed to playing in Hamsik, and his strike is blocked by Thiago Silva.
Aquilani gets a warning from the referee for a quite obvious dive, looking for a free kick to be given against Gargano. If that was further up the pitch, he'd get booked for sure.
An assured start from Milan so far, while Napoli look a little nervous in possession. The hosts have struggled to get the ball out of their own half.
Pato loses the ball to Maggio, but AC win it back in midfield. Abate tries a cross, but it;s far too long and Napoli have it back.
The corner is promptly wasted.
So no goal for AC Milan within 30 seconds today, but they do have an early corner thanks to Maggio.
And the hosts get the match started...
The teams are out and kick off is almost upon us. If anyone wants to hazard a prediction on tonight's game, feel free to contact me on twitter (@eniskoylu)
Meanwhile, the champions start with: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Bonera; Aquilani, van Bommel, Nocerino; Seedorf; Cassano, Pato
So the big team news is that despite the large question mark over his involvement, Ezequiel Lavezzi starts for the hosts. On the other side, Zlatan Ibrahimovic misses out, leaving Antonio Cassano with a starting berth for the champions.
The line-ups are in, and Napoli start with: De Sanctis; Compagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Inler, Gargano, Hamsik, Dosenna; Lavezzi, Cavani
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the Serie A clash between Napoli and champions AC Milan. Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri said this week that Napoli could win the Scudetto this year, and a win tonight for the hosts would surely make the traditional big guns take notice.
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