Napoli – Atalanta Bergamo: Late Josip Iličić goal erases Napoli’s dominant second half (2-2)
Napoli took a leaf out of Manchester City’s book and mostly outplayed Atalanta with a pass-and-press game. A dominant second half display from Napoli seemed to have sealed the game in their favor, but late controversy arose and Josip Iličić thought otherwise, restoring the game that appeared completely out of Atalanta’s reach to a draw.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
Atalanta and Napoli faced off to determine the team most worthy of third place in Serie A. With a win, Ancelotti’s team would have caught up Atalanta on twenty points, whereas Atalanta could have stayed close to the top two, in what could be a surprising three horse title race.
Reality check and Atalanta’s trip to Napoli exposed some of the issues already displayed against Manchester City. However, a Napoli side with its own share of problems kept Gasperini’s team in the game for a draw, a result that perhaps does not fully represent the way the game evolved. Nonetheless, it gives a fair representation of the seasons both teams enjoyed so far.
While Atalanta has imposed itself amongst the best teams in Italy over the past year or two, Napoli have had issues with their consistency lately , losing points on the road to sides a team of their level is expected to beat.
For the occasion, Gasperini fielded an eleven almost at full strength, with only Duván Zapata absent due to injury. Ancelotti, on the other hand, played his strongest lineup, although Hirving Lozano’s striking partner remains up to debate: Dries Mertens or Arkadiusz Milik? Against Atalanta, the . . .