Coppa Italia: Napoli Overcomes Juventus in a 4:2 Penalty Shootout
Gennaro Gattuso wins his first hard-won title
Napoli showcased a remarkable display of resilience by holding out Juventus to a 4-2 penalty shootout at the Coppa Italia final. Napoli finally managed to bag their first trophy in six seasons.
The 90-minute game was a hard tussle that ended nil-nil after few chances were created on either side. In line with protocol, the match took place behind the closed doors of the Stadio Olimpico. The win was the first victory for Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli’s manager.
As for his opposite number, Maurizio Sarri, this was another case of elusive silverware. Throughout his stint at Juventus, Sarri has only last season’s Europa League in his trophy cabinet. Juventus might top Serie A, but they are far from sealing a ninth consecutive title given they lead second-placed Lazio by a single point.
Napoli Braces for a Tough Contest
In over 90 minutes of a tough back and forth tussle, neither team displayed the spark. Occasional brilliance was witnessed when Lorenzo Insigne of Italy hit the post with an impressive free-kick. Juve’s veteran 42-year old keeper Gianluigi Buffon sprang into a smart save, denying Diego Demme a close-range strike. Buffon also saved the day when he intercepted a last-minute header by Nikola Maksimovic.
Gattuso’s Moment of Glory
As a highly accomplished Italian footballer who has held the Champions League, World Cup, and Serie A trophies in his hands, coaching has not been his strength, until now. The closest he came to bagging silverware was back in 2017 when he led AC Milan.
The winning spot-kick was taken by Arkadiusz Milik, who redeemed himself after missing an earlier kick, and with that, Napoli won their first piece of silverware since 2014’s Coppa Italia.