NAPOLI 1-1 ROMA; NAPOLI’S EARLY LEAD CANCELED BY EL SHAARAWY’S 90+1 GOAL.
SSC Napoli could only draw 1-1 with AS Roma after conceding an injury-time equaliser, to potentially ruin their hopes of a first league title since 1990.
So much rested on the 150th Derby del Sole of Serie A, but though Roma began the stronger, their energy backfired in the seventh minute, as Roger Ibañez jostled Hirving Lozano from behind in the penalty area. After a VAR consultation, referee Marco Di Bello reversed his original decision to turn down the spot-kick, and Insigne stepped up to fire low into the left corner past Rui Patrício, who had guessed correctly to no avail.
Roma regrouped, and it was Lorenzo Pellegrini who came closest to equalising before HT, with his free-kick deflecting off Victor Osimhen and onto the crossbar with Alex Meret stranded just before the 40th minute. The early minutes of the second half were pacy and end-to-end, with Kalidou Koulibaly making some important plays to keep Roma out, but Napoli’s mood was soured by Stanislav Lobotka, who sustained an injury that forced him to make way for Piotr Zieliński.
This break in play suited Roma, and they created a gilt-edged chance soon after, with Rick Karsdorp picking out Tammy Abraham on the six-yard line via a faultless cross, but the Englishman could only misdirect his header. Gianluca Mancini then came inches away from scoring for Roma via a header, before Abraham was denied by a block from Mário Rui.
There was another close shave for Napoli with 15 minutes of normal time remaining, as Nicolò Zaniolo raced clear, only to be denied by Meret’s gloves and flattened on the follow-up. The Roma bench demanded a VAR review, and when dissenting Di Bello’s decision to deny them, he flashed a red card in their direction. Mourinho’s mirthful reaction masked what was likely a dawning realisation that he was about to fail in his attempt to win away against Napoli at the third attempt – though there was perhaps a feeling deep down that he would have the last laugh.
After Osimhen could only hit the side-netting in the 80th minute, he was substituted as Napoli went all-out to defend. Almost on cue, Roma poured forward in the dying embers, and on the cusp of eight added minutes, Stephan El Shaarawy broke Napoli hearts. He produced a stunning equaliser, latching onto a squared ball outside the area from Abraham and firing low past Meret to potentially leave Napoli’s title hopes in ashes.