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Hellas Verona 2, Napoli 0, Serie A match recap: Abysmal failure

Napoli faced a must-win match, but instead turned in perhaps their worst performance of the season.

Dino Panato/Getty Images

That was an absolutely pathetic display from Napoli, getting beaten 2-0 by a poor Hellas Verona side thanks to a brace from Luca Toni. This was a match that Napoli absolutely had to win, but they rarely looked like scoring and certainly never even looked all that likely to find a way to do anything productive in this match, showing their worst form and performance on the season so far.

Napoli came out flat, then started making a series of mystifyingly awful defensive mistakes almost right off the bat, including Mariano Andujar mysteriously charging out of his box for no reason, and then being extremely fortunate not to give up a penalty when he desperately scrambled back and had to fall on the ball in front of Toni to keep from giving up an open net goal.

Andujar wasn't so lucky just a couple of minutes later when his defense failed spectacularly in front of him, with Raul Albiol and Miguel Britos left staring as Toni blew by them, and Giandomenico Mesto literally falling over on to the ball in his effort to stop the aged Italian striker. Andujar then managed to trip over Mesto instead of pick the ball up, and Toni slotted him with ease. It was an embarrassing sequence for Napoli, and they deservedly trailed after just seven minutes.

It was all Verona all the time for most of the rest of the half, with Napoli really only starting to gather themselves and do anything remotely useful in the last ten minutes of the first half. Of course, they didn't do anything dangerous in that time, and went in to the half down a goal. The second half started brighter for Napoli, but it wasn't long before the defense started making mistakes again, and Andujar was caught off his line again for Toni to score past.

After that, Verona were content to sit back and let Napoli come forward, and while there were spells when they played fairly decently, there was no cohesive plan or approach or even method to allow them to break down Verona's defense. Their best chance all match long came when Manolo Gabbiadini cracked a ball off the post in the last few minutes of the match, but even when they went up a man shortly after when Jacopo Sala picked up his second yellow card, Napoli couldn't find a way to even come close to scoring.

It was a shamefully poor performance for Napoli, and just the latest of a recent series of steps back for Napoli. They've now lost more matches than they did all of last season, and several difficult matches left to go. To say that things are less than ideal right now is a rather large understatement, and now Napoli are faced with a huge hill to climb to achieve their goals this season, a hill of their own making.

Hellas Verona: Benussi; Sala, Rodriguez, Moras, Pisano; Obbadi (Christodoulopoulos 71'), Hallfredsson, Tachtsidis; Jankovic (Martic 85'), Toni, Gomez (Greco 67')

Goals: Toni (7', 51')

Napoli: Andujar; Mesto (Higuain 68'), Albiol, Britos, Ghoulam; Inler, Lopez; Mertens, Hamsik (Gabbiadini 82'), De Guzman (Callejon 61'); Zapata

Goals: None.