There is nothing about that match that wasn't absolutely miserable and unenjoyable. Napoli couldn't finish their chances or take opportunities served up on a silver platter, and Atalanta took full advantage of their best chance, sending Napoli slumping to a draw and their form spiraling ever lower as the partenopei sink in to fifth place in Serie A.
Napoli came out of gates like a team possessed, pushing hard and high up the pitch, easily outpacing Atalanta and generating chances left and right. They struggled to actually get shots off, though, as too often the final ball was missing. Without Marek Hamsik or Jorginho in the side, Napoli lacked the creative player needed to put the ball where it needed to be for Napoli's forwards to take advantage and put Atalanta to the sword like they deserved.
It didn't help that when Napoli did get shots away and put on target, Marco Sportiello was up to the challenge at every time of asking in goal for Atalanta. The young Italian has been earning deserved transfer market attention, but it would have been nice if he had perhaps not been quite so good today, as he easily put in a man of the match performance between the pipes for the Bergamo club.
Napoli's frustrations continued throughout the first half, and their growing aggression going forward left the defense periodically exposed and begging to be exploited. Luckily, German Denis had a rare off day against Napoli and Atalanta weren't able to convert the chances they got, but it was still cause for concern.
Napoli were handed a big boost just after halftime when Alejandro Gomez was sent off after earning a second yellow card. For all that advantage, though, Napoli continued to have no luck in front of goal, proving completely unable to break down Atalanta's packed-in defense. Then, disaster struck.
In the 70th minute, Mauricio Pinilla was introduced for Denis, as Edy Reja tried to inject more attacking intent in to his side. Two minutes later, a ball over the top from Boukary Drame found Pinilla, who spun Henrique like a top and then beat Mariano Andujar with ease before slotting home to give Atalanta the lead.
Even with a man advantage, Napoli couldn't keep Atalanta from scoring. Even with a man advantage, Napoli struggled mightily to break down Atalanta's defense. They finally, finally, found a way through by using Duvan Zapata to basically batter holes in to Atalanta's back line, but it took until the 89th minute for that tactic to pay off. Timewasting and some comically ridiculous decisions from the referee, including sending Rafa Benitez off seemingly for dropping the rag he was using to clean his glasses, allowed Atalanta to see the draw through injury time, and Napoli left the San Paolo stinging from one of their worst results of the season.
Atalanta are one of the worst teams in Serie A, and Napoli couldn't beat them at home with a man advantage for almost an entire half of football. Thanks to that, they now find themselves in fifth place in the league, five points behind third-place Lazio and just one point up on Fiorentina. It's a pathetic and unacceptable result for the club, and everyone involved in creating it should feel nothing but shame for what has been done today.
Napoli: Andujar; Maggio, Henrique, Koulibaly, Britos; Inler, Lopez (Zapata 79'); Callejon (Mertens 65'), Gabbiadini (Hamsik 70'), De Guzman; Higuain
Goals: Zapata 89'
Atalanta: Sportiello; Stendardo, Bellini, Biava, Dramé; Migliaccio, Cigarini; Zappacosta (D'Alessandro 79'), Moralez (Baselli 67'), Gomez (red 55'); Denis (Pinilla 70')
Goals: Pinilla 72'