Napoli won a difficult-to-watch match* to advance in the Coppa Italia, easily beating Hellas Verona at home to advance to the quarter-finals in a competition that the partenopei have typically done very well in over the last few years. A heavily rotated side still featured a couple of the team's bigger names, and thanks to that strength Napoli pretty well steamrolled the gialloblu.
To be honest, it wasn't the most thrilling match to be had. The tone was set very early, when Omar El Kaddouri scored in the fourth minute, finishing off a pass from Gonzalo Higuain after making an excellent far-post run. Napoli added another in the 12th minute when Dries Mertens went on a crazy run all the way from midfield to beat the whole Verona defense -- and that was pretty much the end of the match.
Napoli absolutely throttled Verona all match long, dominating possession and rarely letting their guests get past the halfway line all day. Napoli had as many shots on target -- 5 -- as Hellas Verona had shots total, and the struggling side only got one on target -- and it didn't even really trouble Pepe Reina all that much.
The partenopei took all the way until the 75th minute when Jose Callejon found the back of the net just four minutes after replacing Higuain up top -- and one minute after Marek Hamsik predictably missed a penalty -- but the outcome of the match had long been decided. Hellas Verona just couldn't sustain any kind of dangerous attack, and Napoli got forward almost at will when they chose to.
With the win, Napoli advance to the quarterfinal round in January, where they'll host Inter Milan in another match at the San Paolo. That's going to be a much more difficult occasion than this was, especially while shaking off the rust of the winter break -- but we all know that Maurizio Sarri and company won't let that challenge phase them or hold them down.
* - Seriously, this was hard even to watch even on alternate sources of questionable legitimacy. I know it's early-round Coppa action, but ... still.
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Chiriches, Koulibaly, Strinic; Allan (Chalobah 67'), Valdifiori, Lopez (Hamsik 49'); El Kaddouri, Higuain (Callejon 71'), Mertens
Goals: El Kaddouri (4'), Mertens (12'), Callejon (75')
Hellas Verona: Coppola; Bianchetti, Moras (Winck 77'), Helander, Pisano; Wszolek, Checchin (Zaccagni 61'), Hallfredsson, Siligardi (Greco 46'); Jankovic; Fares