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Napoli 0, AS Roma 0: Final score belies intense Derby del Sole

Napoli were the better team by far in this edition of the Derby del Sole, but they couldn't find a winner and had to settle for a scoreless draw.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

While Napoli pretty well dominated Roma on the day, but problems getting the job done in the final third meant that they had to settle for a brutally disappointing 0-0 draw. The result sees Napoli stay lodged in third place, and serves as a setback for their scudetto chase hopes.

Napoli ran all over Roma almost from the first whistle, dominating possession and penetrating into the final third with almost contemptuous ease. Once Napoli were in the final third, though, things tended to break down rather harshly -- they managed only three shots on target all game long, and all of those came in the last ten minutes. Otherwise, they were blazing high and wide, and that was when they were actually connecting with shots off their chances.

Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne were the worst offenders in the missed chance brigade, with Insigne wasting a pair of brilliant opportunities, and with Hamsik's miss at the hour mark one of the holding-your-head-screaming-whyyyyy variety. Hamsik had a double chance saved late in the match by a suddenly-spy Walter Szczesny, and a late Dries Mertens shot was parried straight into the path of a charging Omar El Kaddouri -- who couldn't get his shot on target despite having the goal at his mercy.

For their part, Roma were ... there. Their midfield couldn't hold possession. Their defense was in desperation mode all day. Their attack was woefully ineffective, reliant on lobbing high balls up to Edin Dzeko, who couldn't do a damn thing with them because Kalidou Koulibaly had him firmly in his pocket.

Speaking of Koulibaly, wow what a match. Not only did he shut down Dzeko, but he made a few other impressive defensive stops and did some great work on the ball as well, including a moment in the first half that will haunt Iago Falque for the rest of his life. It was the big defender's best match of the season, and he's had some great ones.

There was plenty of concern, though. Allan looks exhausted. Jose Callejon was poor in the first half, and while he was better early in the second, him being the first sub was totally justified. Gonzalo Higuain struggled to get on the same page as his teammates, and failed to get even a single shot off. Hamsik lacked sharpness for most of thematch, seeming just a beat off all day long.

It was a disappointing day for Napoli. They were the better team by far, but have nothing to show for it. The result means that Napoli have taken another step back in the scudetto chase, going from leading the league to being four points off the pace in just over a week. It's bad news, and Napoli will have to work harder than ever to turn things around now.

Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon (Mertens 67'), Higuain, Insigne (El Kaddouri 88')

Goals: None

AS Roma: Szczesny; Florenzi (Vainqueur 88'), Manolas, Rüdiger, Digne; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Pjanic; Falque (Gyomber 82'), Dzeko, Salah (Iturbe 77')

Goals: None