Juventus maintained their spot at the top of the Serie A draw as the league leaders earned a valuable point away against Napoli at San Paolo. The 1-1 draw also kept Napoli in the third and final Champions League qualifying spot, four points ahead of Lazio in fourth.
The Old Lady got off to a blistering start in what was a battle between the league’s best attack and the meanest defence. Sami Khedira played a lovely one-two with Miralem Pjanic before slotting it past Ramon Cabral, deputising for the injured Pepe Reina.
That goal shocked the home team into action as Dries Mertens drove forward in search of an equaliser teeing up captain Marek Hamsik on a couple of occasions only for the Slovakian to drag his shot wide.
The two teams went into the break only separated by a single goal. After the break, Lorenzo Insigne had the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to flag for offside and rightly so, replays showing that the winger was well beyond the last defender.
The equaliser finally came through some slick interplay from Napoli’s two most influential players on the night, Mertens driving forward before unleashing a slide rule pass to find Hamsik in space, the captain making no mistake in lashing it past Gianluigi Buffon.
Moments later, Kwahdo Asamoah’s backpass had Buffon in trouble as Mertens reached the underhit pass, only for it to roll to the byline. The Belgian could only hit the post from such a tight angle as Juve survived.
The Bianconeri now have 74 points from 30 games, while Napoli have 64 from as many. With eight games to go, Juventus should wrap a sixth consecutive league title.
Juventus 1 (Sami Khedira) drew with Napoli 1 (Marek Hamsik)
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