Napoli have far too often struggled at the Stadio Bentegodi in the past, with trips to Verona proving frequently unpleasant. Today, though, they conquered it for a second time this season, completely dominating the match from start to finish in a 2-0 win over Hellas Verona thanks to second-half goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain.
The first half was a dominant display of Napoli, but a frustrating one as well. Napoli completely controlled the match, with Verona rarely bothering to venture out of their own half and proving pretty incapable at doing anything dangerous with the opportunities when they did.
Napoli struggled to be productive themselves, though. Even though they practically camped in Verona's half of the pitch, they struggled to create regular threats, with Verona's packed-in defense cutting out most of their chances before they could be taken. Even without dealing with any real attacking pressure, Napoli just couldn't get their own attacking momentum rolling hard enough to break that practically 10-man defense down.
Those problems leaked into the second half and when stacked on top of a series of poor refereeing decisions and rough play from Verona, lead to a lot of frustration from Napoli players. That was especially apparent after a pair of emotional explosions from Allan and Lorenzo Insigne, with the latter getting booked for his and the referee threatening to show Allan red for his complaints.
Eventually, though, that frustration lead to just the cutting edge they needed, with Lorenzo Insigne lashing a shot in off the post after a clever pass from Marek Hamsik at the top of the box. Minutes later, it was Insigne playing facilitator, cutting through Verona's defense with ease to slip in Gonzalo Higuain for a goal of his own, putting Pipita on top of the Serie A scoring chart.
From there, it was pretty much a game of keep-away, though it had been all day long. Pepe Reina didn't have to make a save until around the 65th minute, and neither that nor the other shot he had to save were particularly dangerous. Napoli could have had a few more goals thanks to Verona looking incredibly run-down and Napoli having boundless energy, but frankly, a 2-0 win is just fine right now.
The win also sees Napoli go to the top of the table, albeit temporarily. Pending the Fiorentina, Roma, and Inter Milan matches later on, Napoli have a point on all three of their scudetto rivals. Will they stay up on top of the table through the end of the day? Probably not, no. But they're sure as hell going to enjoy the view while they're there.
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Chiriches, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik (Lopez 78'); Callejon (El Kaddouri 66'), Higuain, Insigne (Maggio 88')
Goals: Insigne (67'), Higuain (73')
Hellas Verona: Rafael; Pisano, Moras, Bianchetti, Albertazzi (Helander 47'); Greco, Checchin (Wszolek 69'), Hallfredsson; Jankovic (Toni 73'), Pazzini, Gomez