Arkadiusz Milik and Hirving Lozano headers took a precious 2-0 victory over Napoli to Hellas Verona, but the hosts are passing an outstanding Valerio Verre miss over the rue. This was a head-to-head for the sixth spot, while the Partenopei had already qualified for the Europa League in Coppa Italia after their victory over Juventus. Kostas Manolas was still out of action but the roster was shuffled by Gennaro Gattuso, as Dries Mertens was rested while wearing a special edition patch marking the club record 122 goals. Verona also had Fabio Borini suspended and Valentin Eysseric injured.
Marco Silvestri started from Piotr Zielinski to the touch of a daisy-cutter, then Sofyan Amrabat cleared Lorenzo Insigne’s volley from the field after the offside flag had risen. Verona somehow struggled to score an incredible opportunity on 23 minutes, when Marco Davide Faraoni’s volley at the far post went across the face of the frame, transforming it into a fantastic assist that Valerio Verre managed to chest untouched from a yard over the yard. Moments later, Di Carmine pressured David Ospina to a one-handed save at the near post after a Darko Lazovic broke the Napoli defense by the goal.
However, it was Napoli who took the lead as Matteo Politano’s corner spotted Arkadiusz Milik criminally unmarked, as he had slid free for a flicked header into the far bottom corner. Allan had tried to get on with the end of it, which would probably put off Silvestri. Verona succeeded in putting pressure on, Ospina sailing over the bar to fingertip a Miguel Veloso screamer, but within seconds of restarting, Napoli nearly pounced on a defensive error, Silvestri refusing Politano from close range.
Veloso and Politano drew saves from the goalkeepers whilst Ospina bravely hurled at Mattia Zaccagni ‘s cross before Di Carmine could move in.
Verona had the ball in the net on 61 minutes with Faraoni ‘s header at the far post, but Zaccagni had slipped before taking the shot and fell with his hand on the ball to hold himself in balance. After an examination of the VAR which showed the shot had to be disallowed.
Ospina had to run over to avoid a deflected Amir Rrahmani ‘s attempt when Insigne’s curler sailed into the far top corner and Eddie Salcedo tapped down Federico Dimarco’s corner. Napoli doubled its lead in the final minute of the game. Silvestri did beautifully close to bringing his hand to an Insigne pass, but at the ensuing Faouzi Ghoulam corner, Chucky Lozano rose to nod in from a yard over two defenders.
Later on, Lozano was meant to have had a few more moments on the counter but drilled wide of an open goal. Giovanni Simeone scored a last gasp header to send Cagliari away from SPAL possibly vital six-pointer relegation, but Robin Olsen was crucial as well.
Etrit Berisha split a bone in his hand last week, so Karlo Letica made a debut on loan for his Club Brugge Serie A. Verona beat Cagliari at the weekend’s rescheduled Week 25 game and Radja Nainggolan, Leonardo Pavoletti and Paolo Faragò are all gone. Joao Pedro returned from suspension, but Luca Ceppitelli and Luca Cigarini were banned and Walter Zenga switched to 3-5-1-1 with Olsen taking over from Alessio Cragno unexpectedly.
Cagliari had a big chance on 29 minutes when Leticia had to catch the free Marko Rog kick off the line close as it was already halfway into the pot.
Mattia Valoti drilled high, a half-volley shot by Gabriel Strefezza skimmed the crossbar from outside the box, while Thiago Cionek’s solo attempt checked out Robin Olsen. A Luca Pellegrini volley was cool but the wrong side of the post was off target while the free-kick from a decent position from Joao Pedro was off target. It was very hot and humid in Ferrara so the tempo was slow and much-needed breaks to cool down.
Joao Pedro was unable to keep his header down from a corner in the final minutes but SPAL was left to rue an unforgettable double chance.
Mohamed Fares volleyed a shot across from the middle for Alberto Cerri, but Olsen somehow made a brilliant reflex save from point-blank range and Petagna fired the rebound over the wall. The deadlock eventually collapsed profoundly through stoppages, and the goal went down to Cagliari. Letica parried Rog’s scorcher from a distance, but Joao Pedro replied better than anyone else to bring the ball back in for Simeone’s point-blank range header.