Napoli
AP

Napoli net Serie A lead with Juve win

Napoli moved to the top of Serie A after coming from behind to defeat Juventus 2-1 on Saturday night.

Amauri put the Bianconeri ahead in the 62nd minute, but Marek Hamsik brought the home team level two minutes later.

Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed the winner 10 minutes from time to take Napoli one point clear at the top of the table and leave Juve struggling in mid-table with their coach Claudio Ranieri bound to come in for more criticism.

Ranieri had his hands tied by an injury list which left him without 10 members of his squad.

In attack, he was almost obliged to pick Alessandro Del Piero alongside Amauri. Italy under-21 international Giovinco was the only other recognized forward available and he sat on the bench.

The situation in defense was even harder with Dario Knezevic partnering Giorgio Chiellini in the center for the first time this season.

Napoli coach Eduardo Reja had the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from and he selected former Juve striker Marcello Zalayeta in his attack alongside Lavezzi.

The home side made a bright start to the game, as is often the case at their imposing Stadio San Paolo.

Even though the stadium was half-empty - league sanctions prevents the areas behind both goals from being occupied while there were no fans from Turin permitted to travel - the atmosphere remained intimidating.

Nevertheless, the visitors had the first chance of the game when Christian Poulsen's shot took a deflection off Amauri which looped towards Gennaro Iezzos goal, catching the Napoli goalkeeper off-balance, but he recovered to tip the ball wide.

Juve were getting to the Napoli goalline with too much ease, but there were never any takers for their numerous pull-backs.

Amauri headed wide of the goal at one end with Hamsik replicating his miss at the other end, but the pair did not miss their next chances in the second half.

Amauri put Juve ahead in the 62nd minute with a clinical finish at the near post to convert a low cross from Poulsen.

The lead lasted just two minutes before Hamsik headed Napoli level.

Lavezzi lifted the ball into the penalty area and the Slovakian midfielder made no mistake with a powerful header from six yards out past Alexander Manninger.

The home side were full of confidence once again and Ranieri reacted by taking captain Del Piero off and sending defender Paolo De Ceglie on.

Del Piero did not look too happy to once again be the first Juve player off the field and the move did not appear to come off.

Napoli were ahead 10 minutes from time when a defensive error set Lavezzi up in front of goal.

Knezevic tried to clear the ball forwards while he was facing the other direction and the ball fell kindly for Lavezzi, who took several steps into the box before firing past Manninger from close to the penalty spot.

Ranieri reversed his earlier tactical change by introducing Giovinco for Cristian Molinaro for the final seven minutes, but the damage had already been done.

And he will face further questioning of his tactical selections ahead of a Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday which assumes an even greater importance for the former Chelsea and Valencia boss.

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