Serie A - Juve fight back to nab draw at Napoli

Tue, 29 Nov 21:45:00 2011

Juventus came from 3-1 down to snatch a 3-3 draw in a scintillating Serie A clash with Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.

Simone Pepe - 0

In a quite brilliant game of end-to-end football, Napoli went into the break 2-0 ahead thanks to goals from Marek Hamsik and Goran Pandev. Hamsik had even missed a penalty in the 14th minute.

However, Juventus had been far from outplayed in the opening period, and had enjoyed the majority of possession without really threatening Morgan De Sanctis’s goal.

Alessandro Matri soon put that right as he halved the deficit three minutes into the second half, but Pandev made it 3-1 to Napoli midway through the second half with a fine turn and shot.

But Antonio Conte’s men refused to believe they were beaten, and Marcelo Estigarribia netted in the 72nd minute, before Simone Pepe waltzed through the Napoli defence to level the scores seven minutes later.

The game was a rescheduled fixture, after the original had been called off due to flooding in Naples on November 6.

Marcelo Estigarribia made his first Serie A start for Juventus in a 3-5-2 formation, in place of the suspended Claudio Marchisio.

Napoli were without Edinson Cavani, who injured his ankle against Atalanta at the weekend, so Pandev came in.

Mirko Vucinic had an early chance for Juve, after Stephan Lichtsteiner’s deflected cross had fallen at his feet, but he shot across goal.

Napoli then spurned a golden chance to take the lead on 14 minutes. Ezequiel Lavezzi was pulled over by Andrea Pirlo on the byline after a short corner, and referee Tagliavento rightly pointed to the spot.

Hamsik scored the penalty, but the referee decided that Gokhan Inler had encroached as the kick was taken, and asked for it to be taken again. And, second time round, Hamsik skied it.

The Slovakian made up for his earlier embarrassment when he headed the opening goal midway through the first half. Lavezzi’s free-kick was knocked down by Christian Maggio for Hamsik to head home from two yards. He was marginally offside when the free-kick was taken, but had got himself into an onside position by the time Maggio had outjumped the Juve defence to head across goal.

Five minutes before half-time, Pandev made it 2-0 to Napoli. Pirlo's attempted clearance in the area hit off Maggio, and the Macedonian was able to turn Giorgio Chiellini and drive the ball low past Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal.

Matri made it 2-1 three minutes into the second half, with a lovely finish after being found unmarked in the area by Arturo Vidal’s reverse pass. However, it seemed that Napoli had wrapped the game up when Pandev scored his second goal of the night on 68 minutes.

Leonardo Bonucci tried to cut out Maggio's cross from the right, but missed the ball, and Pandev turned and shot in one movement past Buffon.

Just four minutes later, Estigarribia scored to make it 3-2, and set up a fine finish to the game. The impressive Vucinic crossed from the right, and Matri flicked it on to the Paraguayan to poke through De Sanctis at the far post.

And Juventus secured an unlikely point seven minutes later when Pepe ran through the Napoli defence, took advantage of a lucky deflection off a Napoli heel, before shooting low past De Sanctis for his third goal in successive games.

Nick Royle / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account