Napoli Wins Coppa Italia in Penalties

Napoli Wins Coppa Italia in Penalties

After more than 90 minutes of play time and a hellacious penalty shootout, Napoli successfully upended Juventus to win their 1st Coppa Italia trophy since 2014 and their third over the past decade. “Gil Azzurri” were led by a stellar, star-marking performance from their 23-year-old goalkeeper Alex Meret who finished the match with three saves in the first 90 and another one against Juve superstar Paulo Dybala to start the shootout.

The young Meret needed to play up to those high standards because on the other side was the legendary Gigi Buffon, who also had himself a day to remember. The 42-year-old once again proved that age is just a number inside the Stadio Olimpico in Rome by finishing the contest with seven saves during the first 90, including one in the later stages that looked almost sure to fly into the net. His nearly impeccable play was only hurt by the fact that his team couldn’t get it done on the other side of the pitch.

Photo Credit – Yahoo Sports

Through the first 90, Juventus’ attacking line failed to do much of anything against Napoli’s spine. The club’s two best goalscorers, Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo, shot seven times all match, but only had one actually hit on target. Questions are sure to arise in the near future as to what manager Maurizio Sarri could’ve done differently in order to flip the result, as his club looked sluggish against a way better prepared opponent.

Much of the praise towards the now champions must be given to their own gaffer, Gennaro Gattuso, who now has his first bit of silverware in his new profession. What’s incredible is that he wins his first trophy with Napoli after only being in charge for 17 games, most of which happened before the global COVID-19 pandemic. And he did so by defeating the most dominant side in Italian football history.

The Italian football league still has a ways to go this year, meaning that Juventus could still finish the season with some gold for themselves. As of today, “The Old Lady” is sitting one point above Lazio for first place in Serie A with 12 matches still to go. If history persists, Juventus should be able to win their 9th straight league title. If they are all collectively able to forget about this tough loss and move forward, they should be able to add yet another Scudetto to their collection.

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